One of the suspects in last month’s attack on Jewish subway riders returning from a Chanukah celebration has been sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in jail for a hate crime he committed in 2006.
Joseph Jirovec, 19, of Brooklyn drew that sentence Tuesday from Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Danny Chun, for his role in the robbery of four black teens in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn. Jirovec had already pleaded guilty to the crime in a deal that called for six months in prison, but the judge ruled that the teen had violated the agreement by getting arrested in December.
Prosecutors had asked for three-and-a-half years in prison, part of the maximum penalty Jirovec could have drawn, said Charles Guria, an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn.
Jirovec is already on Riker’s Island, where he was remanded last week as the judge began reviewing the plea agreement, and is expected to be transferred soon to a prison upstate.
His lawyer, Peter Mollo, insisted his client is Jewish and, therefore, not capable of committing a hate crime against other Jews.
The argument reminds some legal observers of a defense employed two years ago in the case involving a gay man, Michael Sandy. Sandy, 29, was lured to Sheepshead Bay over the Internet, beaten and forced into highway traffic, where he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, sustaining injuries from which he later died. One of the suspects claimed during the trial that he was innocent of any hate crime because he was gay himself, but the jury rejected that argument, finding the man guilty.