A Philadelphia judge last week “threw the book” at a Frankford man who brutally mugged a 93-year-old woman outside the Bell’s Corner Shopping Center on Easter Sunday 2012, according to the prosecutor in the case.
Antonio Santiago, 30, of the 2200 block of Kennedy St. earned the maximum possible sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison, according to Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson. Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Coleman reportedly described Santiago’s actions on April 8, 2012, as “crime against humanity.”
Estelle DiCamillo, then 93, had taken a SEPTA bus to church that day and was walking home at about 2 p.m. when Santiago attacked her in the shopping center’s parking lot. Surveillance video later recovered by police showed Santiago casing the area for an hour prior to the strong-arm robbery, during which he pulled the victim to the ground, broke her arm in three places and caused her numerous cuts and bruises.
“[He was] just circling and waiting for the victim to come along. He was really a predator,” Gilson said after the June 18 sentencing hearing.
The injuries suffered by the victim launched a chain of events that rendered her homebound and unable to care for herself, according to the prosecutor. While in recovery for her injuries, DiCamillo fell and broke her hip. She is still coping with the physical and emotional pain of the crime.
“Up until this day, this woman was in good health. She lived alone. She was able to take care of herself, cook for herself,” Gilson said. “She walked with the help of a cane and took public transit to go wherever she needed to go.
“[Now] she lives in fear. She has nightmares about the incident.”
Santiago maintained his innocence throughout his nonjury trial and sentencing. He told the court that he might look like the robber in the surveillance video, but it is not him. He asked Coleman for mercy.
With one prior felony robbery conviction on his record, Santiago qualified as a second-strike offender, meaning that he faced mandatory minimums of 10 to 20 years in prison for each of two offenses — robbery and aggravated assault.
Coleman opted to issue the terms consecutively to maximize Santiago’s prison time. According to Gilson, the defendant could face additional court sanctions for violating the terms of his parole related to his earlier robbery conviction. A parole violation hearing has not been scheduled. ••