The trial for Asa Roberts, 19, who allegedly broke into an 82-year-old woman’s Brighton Beach home to rob and rape her in 2015, is underway and the victim’s son-in-law offered insight as to how the incident might have taken place.
The son-in-law of the elderly victim, whose identity is being kept under wraps for her protection, describes her as a “neat freak,” who couldn’t help herself but to go out and clean the area in front of her house at all hours of the day or night.
“If she saw a candy wrapper, dirt, a cigarette butt in the front of her house she would go out there and clean it whether it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon or 2 o’clock at night,” said the son-in-law.
He and his wife, the victim’s daughter, kept a close watch on the senior. The night of the horrible attack and rape, the two were at the Brighton Beach home until 7pm, but kept monitoring the mother until 11pm. They worry about her because she has a “mental illness” that drives her to go out and clean the sidewalk or the street — an illness for which she refuses to see a doctor, according to the son-in-law’s testimony in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday.
The next day he received an Earth-shattering phone call.
“She said a black man was in the house, beat her up and told her not to call the police because he’d kill her family and he had the master keys to all the houses on the block,” said the in-law.
That’s when he called the police, sparking a 4-day-long manhunt to find the vicious attacker.
Roberts described to police how he managed to evade capture for days despite being the target of a massive manhunt in which cops nearly caught Roberts multiple times.
“I hid between the sheetrock and the insulation of the wall. I was watching the warrant squad, the K9 Unit and ESU search for me. I could see them, but they could not see me,” he said of one of his close encounters with law enforcement. “They could not catch me because I do parkour which teaches you how to jump from rooftops of buildings.”
Roberts maintained that while he did rob the women, he let his “friend” in through the back door and left him there with her after he got his loot.
“I did not do it, I let the other guy in the back door, I don’t want to be a snitch, but I was just the lookout. I don’t need nothing like that. I can get girls and I get money, my mother gives me money,” Roberts told police soon after his arrest in mid-July.
City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, who represents the area where the crime occurred, asked police to charge Robert with a bias crime, noting that the rape took place after the victim reportedly told her attacker she was Jewish.
“I am shocked and disgusted at the heinous and barbaric nature of this crime against an elderly woman,” Deutsch said in a statement.
Roberts faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the main charge of predatory sexual assault.