A jury has convicted a Hempstead man of dragging a woman onto the lawn of a Long Beach home and raping her in December 2009.
It took a jury about five hours Tuesday to convict Alphonso Barnes, 56, of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sex act and first-degree sexual abuse, prosecutors said. A persistent violent felony offender, Barnes faces up to life in prison at his Sept. 5 sentencing.
Prosecutors said Barnes' victim was walking on Magnolia Boulevard in Long Beach on Dec. 5, 2009, when he grabbed her from behind, forced her into the yard of a West Olive Street home, and forcibly raped her in an attack that lasted an hour-and-a-half.
During the attack, Barnes strangled and threatened to kill the victim if she screamed, and tied her sweater around her face so she could not identify him, prosecutors said.
DNA evidence collected at the scene led to Barnes, whose DNA sample was in the statewide database for previous convictions of criminally negligent homicide, attempted burglary, and robbery, prosecutors said. Barnes, who was on lifetime parole and living in a shelter in Hempstead, was arrested by the Hempstead Police Department at the offices of the Nassau County Department of Social Services when he went to pick up a housing voucher.
After the two-week trial, the jury rejected the defense's claims that the victim consented to sexual activity with Barnes.
"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," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "Her bravery and strength, however, have helped ensure that this violent predator will never victimize another innocent person again."
Barnes' lawyer, Jeffrey Groder, of Mineola, said his client will appeal.
"From the very beginning, Mr. Barnes maintained his innocence," Groder said. "He has never wavered from his version of events."