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Lynwood man sentenced to 423 years for robberies and rapes targeting elderly women in Long Beach

Lynwood man sentenced to 423 years for robberies and rapes targeting elderly women in Long Beach
Melvin Earl Farmer Jr. is pictured in this screenshot from security camera video released by police last year. Farmer was convicted of sexually assaulting and robbing elderly women in Long Beach. (Long Beach Police Department)

A Lynwood man was sentenced to 423 years on Monday for knocking on doors in Long Beach and then assaulting and robbing the elderly women who answered.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in July convicted Melvin Earl Farmer Jr., 40, of 13 felony counts, including burglary, sexual battery, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, criminal threats and forcible rape, according to court records.

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Farmer was sentenced to 280 years to life in this case plus 143 years for sentence enhancements, according to a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors say that over the course of about a week in February 2017, Farmer sexually assaulted and robbed several women, whose ages ranged from 63 to 90.

Most of the robberies happened at a senior housing complex near Atlantic Avenue and Via Carmelitos in North Long Beach. Farmer knocked on the women’s doors, forced his way inside when they answered and physically assaulted them before he made off with purses, cellphones, jewelry and cash, police said.

The robberies grabbed headlines last year after Long Beach police circulated security camera footage in an effort to identify a man who was preying on elderly women. After the images were made public, a tipster identified the man as Farmer. A day later, he was in custody.

Prosecutors said Farmer’s criminal history dates to 1999, when he was convicted of second-degree robbery. He also was convicted of attempted second-degree robbery in 2007.

Authorities also arrested Sophia Yim, 33, of Lynwood, who police say drove Farmer to the Bixby Knolls home of a 90-year-old woman whom he beat, sexually assaulted and robbed.

Farmer knocked on the woman’s door shortly before 7:30 a.m. and forced his way into her residence when she answered. The woman fought back, and during the struggle a panic alarm at the residence was activated. The woman was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Yim pleaded no contest in July to first-degree residential robbery and first-degree burglary. She was sentenced to five years’ probation and community service, court records show.

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