2001-03-24 / Front Page

Far Rock Man Convicted Of Murder

By John C. McLoughlin

A Far Rockaway man was convicted this week on murder charges stemming from a series of six robberies he committed in the Rockaways in 1998.

District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendant as Jose Vernon, 24, of 29-32 Beach Channel Drive. He was convicted of murder and six counts of robbery after a three-week jury trial before Supreme Court Justice Stanley Katz. He faces a maximum sentence on the murder charge of 25 years to life in prison and up to 15 years on each robbery. Justice Katz will impose sentence on April 11, 2001.

D.A. Brown said that Vernon was found guilty of murder in connection with the death of 60 year old Adela Apa, who was returning home to her apartment from the store on July 6, 1998 when the defendant attempted to steal a fanny pack strapped around her waist. According to the testimony at the trial, Vernon attempted to grab the pack, knocking Apa off-balance on a flight of stairs. She fell down the stairs and hit her head, fracturing her skull. She died at the scene.

"Some of the robberies of which the defendant was convicted were also violent, including a robbery in which he banged a 31 year old woman’s head against the wall causing her to suffer a fractured spine," Brown said. "The defendant is a violent predator who deserves to be dealt with severely."

Assistant District Attorney Stephen M. Antignani of the District Attorney’s Homicide Trial Bureau, which is under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Daniel A. Saunders and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Gregory L. Lasak, prosecuted the trial.

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