Today’s news:

Man arrested in assault on grandmother

A Flushing man who allegedly attacked 86−year−old Springfield Gardens resident Vivian Squires in January has been arrested and now the Queens grandmother said she can sleep soundly in the belief that her assailant has been found.

“I’m glad he won’t be able to hurt someone else, and I hope he can be helped,” Squires told TimesLedger Newspapers Friday.

Andre Mathis, 33, of Flushing, was arraigned Friday before Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita and ordered held without bail, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Mathis is accused of attempting to murder Squires, a retired correction officer, breaking into her home, stabbing her repeatedly and stealing her jewelry and car, Brown said.

Mathis faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The Jan. 4 attack on Squires sent her to Mary Immaculate Hospital with 60 stitches in her neck and back.

Squires said she awoke a little after 6 a.m., and noticed someone was in her room. Believing it was her tenant, Anthony Davis, who is like a nephew to Squires, she was shocked when the individual jumped on her and began to smother her with a pillow.

“He slashed my throat, and I just kept saying, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,’ and pretty soon I felt the strength draining from him and he dropped the pillow and ran,” Squires said in a February interview with this newspaper.

Mathis allegedly admitted to police that when Squires woke up and saw him, he intended to kill her, Brown said. The Flushing resident allegedly said he believed she was dead when he left her room, according to Brown.

Squires said now that Mathis is behind bars, she can focus on both her mental and physical recovery.

“I don’t want to get so hardened because of this that I get afraid and give up on my dreams,” Squires said. “I’m glad to be alive. That’s the main thing. I’m still here.”

Squires said the attack inspired her to work on an initiative that will provide adult mentors for troubled youth.

Mathis was scheduled to return to court March 23.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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