The suspect in the vicious attack of a Catholic missionary worker who prayed the “Hail Mary” while she was raped is now in custody on Rikers Island in connection with several robberies in Manhattan.
According to a report by Murray Weiss in DNAinfo, DNA evidence taken from a fedora hat dropped by the suspect near the crime scene at Washington Square near New York University (NYU) matched that of a homeless ex-con who had been arrested over a week ago in connection with three robberies in the Midtown and Chelsea sections of Manhattan.
Detectives had launched an intense manhunt for the suspected rapist, which ended when he was picked up on an unrelated shoplifting charge and police made the connection between the rape and the robberies.
The suspect has yet to be charged with the October 31st rape of the 24-year old Catholic missionary who repeatedly prayed the “Hail Mary” as she was assaulted, raped, and threatened with death.
The woman was reportedly grabbed by a man at about 5:35 AM as she unlocked the door to the Catholic Center to begin preparations for breakfast for “those in need,” including the homeless and underprivileged.
According to police reports, the attacker had followed the victim around Washington Square Park prior to pouncing upon her.
“I want a piece of you,” the attacker allegedly growled at the young woman as he tried to push her to the floor.
DNAinfo sources said the victim tried to fight the man off but was repeatedly punched in the face and chest until she was overpowered. After raping her, the attacker reportedly said, “I should have killed you, too.”
Throughout the attack, sources said the young woman prayed, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
The suspect, who is described as a man in his mid-20’s, also allegedly stole some of the victim’s belongings.
The victim, who has been recovering from the attack in Ohio, will likely be brought back to New York so that she may identify the suspect in a lineup before formal charges are filed against him.
“She is not doing all that well,” a law enforcement source told DNAinfo.
The suspect, however, will likely be charged with rape and assault even without the victim’s identification of him because of the overwhelming evidence against him, including the DNA results, surveillance footage, and other forensic evidence.
The suspect has an extensive record of arrests for robbery and assault and has served time in state prison.
“He is a bad, bad dude,” a law enforcement source said. “But this rape could be his first.”