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Case Number: IND-72963-23/005
Judge: Richard E. Horowitz
Court: Supreme Court, Suffolk County, New York
Plaintiff's Attorney: Suffolk County New York District Attorney's Office
Description: Riverhead, New York criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with burglary, rape, criminal sexual acts, etc.
Beginning on June 22, 2021, Eric Freeman entered a Bay Shore residence where a 16-year-old female was inside alone. Freeman sexually assaulted the teen and threated to kill her when she screamed for help. Freeman then fled the residence.
On June 25, 2021, Freeman attempted to enter and burglarize a home in Bellport while harassing a woman who was inside, under the pretense that he was looking for water. A week later, on July 1, 2021, Freeman returned to the same home, illegally entered, and attempted to rape a different woman who was living alone in a small apartment attached to the main house. The woman was able to dissuade Freeman by offering him money. Prior to leaving her home, Freeman tried to obstruct the woman’s breathing by choking her. Three days later, on July 4, 2021, Freeman again returned to the woman’s home to taunt and harass her.
On July 12, 2021, Freeman illegally entered another Bellport residence while a mother and her 11-year-old son were inside and stole money and other personal items from the home. Freeman was arrested by Suffolk County Police officers later that day and was found with several stolen items in his pockets. When he was arraigned on those charges, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office requested that bail be set in the amount of $75,000 cash, $150,000 bond or $750,000 partially secured bond. However, at his arraignment, Suffolk County District Court Judge Edward J. Hennessey released Freeman on his own recognizance and ordered that he wear a GPS ankle monitor. It was later determined that Freeman, despite having the ankle monitor, did not charge it so his location could not be tracked.
On July 16, 2021, Freeman illegally entered a Huntington Station residence where a female was home with her 7-year-old daughter. While inside, Freeman stole money and choked the woman in front of her child. Freeman fled the home after the mother and child began screaming and banging on the walls to an adjoining apartment. Freeman was arrested by Suffolk Police shortly thereafter.
In November 2023, while he was being held in jail for these charges, Freeman was indicted for Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a Class B felony, for allegedly attempting to smuggle fentanyl into the correctional facility through his unsuspecting defense attorney. That case is still pending.
Prior to these crimes, Freeman was determined to be a Level Three sex offender stemming from a 1990 juvenile offense conviction. He was later convicted of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in June 2021, and at the time that the instant crimes were committed, he was out of custody and ordered by a judge to be released on his own recognizance while pending sentence on that case.
On February 9, 2024, Freeman was convicted after a jury trial, heard before Acting Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Richard I. Horowitz, of the following charges:
Two counts of Burglary in the First Degree, Class B violent felonies;
Rape in the First Degree, a Class B violent felony;
Two counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, Class B violent felonies;
Attempted Rape in the First Degree, a Class C violent felony;
Two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree, Class C violent felonies;
Two counts of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree, Class D violent felonies;
Assault in the Second Degree, a Class D violent felony;
Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a Class D violent felony
Two counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree, Class E felonies;
Rape in the Third Degree, a Class E felony;
Three counts of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, Class A misdemeanors;
Two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Class A misdemeanors;
Two counts of Harassment in the Second Degree, Class A misdemeanors;
Two counts of Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree, Class B misdemeanors;
Freeman is due back in court on March 20, 2024, for sentencing and faces up to life in prison if found by the court to be a persistent felony offender. He is being represented by John Halverson, Esq. and Christopher Gioe, Esq.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tara Laterza of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Dena Rizopoulos of the Homicide Bureau, with investigative assistance from Detectives Alberto Acevedo and Michael Oberg of the Suffolk County Police Department.
Outcome: Defendant was found guilty.