August 1, 2012 | 2 comments | 143 views
Man convicted of violent Long Beach rape
Alphonso Barnes could face life in prison for 2009 attack
A jury in Nassau County Criminal Court on Wednesday convicted Alphonso Barnes of raping a woman in Long Beach in 2009.
Barnes grabbed a woman on a street in Long Beach, dragged her into the yard of a home on West Olive Street and sexually assaulted her for an hour and a half, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.
It took the jury about five hours to convict Barnes of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse. Because he is a persistent and violent offender, the D.A.’s office said, he could face life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 5.
“This vicious attack is every woman’s nightmare, and it is impossible to imagine the pain, suffering and after-effects that this victim has had to endure since that terrible night,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “Her bravery and strength, however, have helped ensure that this violent predator will never victimize another innocent person again.”
According to Rice, at about 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2009, Long Beach police officers saw a woman in torn clothing running on East Broadway. The woman, who was on the phone with a 911 operator, told the officers that she had been raped.
During the attack, Rice alleged, Barnes repeatedly choked the woman and threatened to kill her if she screamed for help. He tied her sweater around her face so that she wouldn’t be able to identify him.
DNA collected at the scene led police to Barnes, Rice said, whose DNA was on file after previous convictions for criminally negligent homicide, attempted burglary and robbery. Barnes was on lifetime parole, and was arrested by Hempstead police when he visited the Nassau County Department of Social Services to pick up a housing voucher.
At the time of the attack, Barnes was living at the Long Beach Motor Inn on Austin Boulevard in Island Park. Residents of Island Park have long protested the county’s practice of housing violent offenders in the same building in which it houses homeless families.
The trial lasted two weeks. Barnes’s attorney, Jeff Groder, had claimed that the woman consented to having sex with Barnes, but the jury rejected that claim.
Groder could not be reached for comment.