Photo by: Queens Ledger

Murdered Irish bar owner and a rape victim share different fates -- Judges decide 75 years for rape and only 3.5 years for murder


Photo by: Queens Ledger

George Gibbons' father and siblings stand in front of the Court after Monday's sentencing. (Credit: Queens Ledger)
A Queens New York judge this week sentenced Peter Rodriguez to 3 and half to 7 years in jail for snuffing out the life of George Gibbons, a beloved Irish bar owner in Queens.

On Monday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers gave a 75-year to life sentence to former NYPS cop Michael Pena for grabbing a 24-year-old teacher off the street. The jury was unable to decide whether Pena was guilty of rape.

The victim was a new schoolteacher on her way to her first day at work.

Pena will be 103 before being eligible for parole. Rodriguez 36,will be under 40.

The disparity in sentencing makes for an incredible contrast

Horrific as the rape crime was, family can still hold and touch the schoolteacher and comfort her. Hopefully with time she can move on and make a good life for herself.

I’m not saying the sentence was not justified

But George Gibbons lies in a lonely grave and his killer got off with a wrist slap.

Where is the justice?

Peter Rodriguez had a previous record when he drove the wrong way, likely drunk, on the Long Island expressway. After killing George he fled the scene and was not arrested for days.

I know the Gibbons family well and there is no Irish family as well respected.

Their loss was tragic and a community mourned with them. On Monday, 100 people showed up in court to question why Rodriguez got such a light sentence.

Eddie Gibbons, George’s uncle, now deceased, was a leading figure in the community for years.

His store and pub, the Poteen Still, was a home from home for many, making the Irish papers available in his store and playing a leading role in helping out young Irish undocumented.

Eddie's brother, George senior, is cut from the same cloth, a man renowned for his good deeds and his work tin helping Irish immigrants, and his kids have carried on the great family tradition.

Now they are shattered and to add insult to injury Rodriguez has got a slap on the wrist.

Where does the justice come in? How much was George Gibbons’s life worth?

Not that much according to a Queens DA and a judge who agreed a plea deal.

Sometimes the system sucks.


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