Tips were drying up in the pursuit of the man who raped a nearly 80-year-old woman in July.
Then police found that DNA left on the victim’s clothing matched that of a 40-year-old man caught trying to jump the turnstile at the East 116th Street subway station.
That man, Shon Holland, of 35 West 126th Street, was arrested on Saturday, August 28, and charged with rape and assault in connection with the July incident.
“I am thrilled because the community came together and brought this man to justice,” said Bob Bieder, vice-president of the 45th Precinct Community Council, which covers the Zerega and Westchester Square communities. “The Special Victim’s Unit and the precinct and everybody involved were really diligent. They really went out and got it done.”
According to officials with the SVU, the department cross-checked Holland’s DNA with that found on the victim after they realized his last address was in the 45th Precinct.
“We had no luck and then it turned into a nice day of luck,” said an SVU officer who declined to be named. “We have victims of every age, but the circumstances surrounding this one made it most satisfying to know we got this guy off the streets.”
According to police reports, the rape happened at about 2 a.m. on July 19, outside the elevator in a 6-story building at 1400 Benson Street.
The victim, a 79-year-old tenant, was returning home from a late-night walk when she was punched in the face and assaulted. According to police, the woman is still hospitalized.
The arrest report said Holland put the victim in a chock-hold before hitting her in the head and body. Along with the rape, the suspect also “ransacked her personal belongings while demanding money from her,” the report said.
The report indicates that Holland made a video statement admitting to the crime. “I disrespected her,” Holland confessed in the police report. “I followed her to her apartment for money and then I got scared and ran. I am sorry for what I did. That is me in the video.”
The confession in the report supports earlier police claims that the incident began as a burglary that turned into a rape.
“I needed money for drugs and food and I followed her into the building and elevator,” the report quotes Holland as saying. “I asked her for money. She said she didn’t have any money. I searched her bags and pockets- I couldn’t find any money. I took off her clothes, I took down my pants I did what I did.”
At a recent community meeting on Tuesday, August 24, Lieutenant Richard McCartney, of Bronx Special Victims Unit did not sound optimistic about capturing the suspect.
He announced that the surveillance tapes that captured the incident will be released to the public and shown across the country on a special edition of “America’s Most Wanted.” The tapes will air on September 11, in an episode focusing on unsolved New York City crimes.
The department hoped that showing the footage would bring more witnesses to the department with clues, because the investigation had begun to stall.
“In my 25 years this is one of the worst cases I’ve seen,” McCartney said.