Convicted Killer Guilty of Woodhaven Sex Attack, Jury Decides
WOODHAVEN — A laundromat worker who fatally stabbed his disabled aunt more than two decades ago is going back to prison for sexually assaulting a female customer in March, officials said.
A jury found Richard Kassebaum guilty on Thursday of the March 31 attack — for which he faces up to seven years in prison, according to the Queens District Attorney.
The victim left the laundromat at approximately 4:30 a.m. that morning to return home while her clothes were inside the washer.
As she turned the corner, Kassebaum, 42, grabbed her from behind and choked her, knocking her glasses off her head, the D.A. said in a statement.
Kassebaum then grabbed her buttocks, but ran off when the 40-year-old victim screamed.
The woman told cops that her attacker was wearing a navy blue short-sleeve shirt and jeans.
Surveillance from inside the laundromat and nearby premises show Kassebaum in clothes matching this description, the D.A. said in the statement.
Kaussebaum was also spotted "walking behind the victim and followed her onto Woodhaven Boulevard," the D.A. said.
Video footage taken just after the attack shows "Kassebaum running back onto 86th Avenue and reentering the laundromat," prosecutors said.
"The defendant stands convicted of a crime of violence and being a sexual predator who subjected his victim to a terrorizing ordeal," Queens D.A. Richard Brown said in a statement.
"He poses a serious threat to public safety and, under the circumstances, a significant prison sentence is more than warranted.”
Kassebaum's lawyers Milton Florez and Mark Panzavecchia said they are weighing whether to proceed with an appeal.
"We're exploring our options," Panzavecchia said, adding that he and Florez took issue with the surveillance tapes used as evidence.
"We never received full copies of the tapes," he said. "The case was basically based fully on surveillance tapes."
Before this incident, Kassebaum served 19 years for slaying his epileptic aunt, according to a law source, public records and past media reports.
According to a March 11, 1990 New York Times article, the woman was found dead in her bed and "had been stabbed numerous times in the chest."
Cops thought "the possibility that it was a sexual assault, because her clothes had been cut from her," the Times reported.
Kassebaum — who was convicted on first and third-degree sexual abuse and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation charges — will be sentenced on Aug. 15.