SCHENECTADY It was a calm and sometimes cordial Steven Raucci.
Raucci had just been led away from Mont Pleasant Middle School in handcuffs, Feb. 20, 2009, accused of a more than seven-year-old Rotterdam bombing. The then-city schools facilities director found himself being questioned by a detective from the Rotterdam Police Department and one from the state police.
The conversation lasted less than 90 minutes and Raucci said little, almost apologetic he couldn’t say more.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that outside of all this, another time, another place, another planet, you and I could sit and talk,” Raucci told Rotterdam Police Detective Christopher Foster. “This isn’t the time, Chris.”
DeAngelus also provided a transcript of the interview for the court.
Former Schenectady County Court Judge Michael Eidens, serving as a judicial hearing officer, is to make a recommendation on the recording’s admissibility later.
This is a transcript of Steven Raucci’s questioning by Rotterdam Police Detective Christopher Foster and state police Investigator Peter Minahan after Raucci’s arrest Feb. 20, 2009. The transcript was drawn up at the direction of Raucci’s defense attorney Ronald DeAngelus and used at the Jan. 13 court hearing. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney noted that he saw a few spots in the transcript he found incorrect, though he did not identify those spots. Both he and acting Schenectady County Court Judge Michael Eidens found the transcript largely accurate. To view the transcript (in two parts), click HERE and HERE.
Raucci never appears to make any admissions in the interview. He does touch on animosity between him and some of the central figures in the case, Hal and Deborah Gray and Ronald Kriss.
“So do the Grays hate me? I don’t have a problem saying this right out loud. Do the Grays hate me? Of course they do,” Raucci told the investigators. “You know, they hate me because the husband was jealous of me, even though I took care of the husband so he could retire when he was gonna be fired from the school district.”
Among the list of charges against Raucci is repeated vandalism of the Gray’s home and property.
Raucci, 61, of Niskayuna, is accused of placing explosive devices at four houses around the Capital Region, including Rotterdam and Schodack. Two of the devices exploded, but no one was injured.
He is also accused of damaging the cars and homes of people who disagreed with him, slashing tires, damaging paint or windshields. The Grays reported their car being vandalized five times.
Many of the individuals had ties to the Schenectady City School District or the CSEA union. Raucci was head of Local 847 of the union.
Raucci has remained in custody for nearly 11 months. The trial is expected to begin in March or April.
Carney has suggested that Raucci’s alleged behavior went on so long because higher ups at the school district were beholden to him.
At one point in the interview, Raucci refers to a letter to the editor to be published soon where he defended city schools Superintendent Eric Ely.
Ely “speaks what he has to say, a lot of people don’t like that,” Raucci told the investigators, “because he — he reminds me a little bit of me, though, with a lot more education.”
The questioning itself was recorded on videotape, showing Raucci being hit with snippets of information from the case that had been built against him.
He had been taken by surprise at the school, where his office was. If surprise was the police intent, Raucci told them, they did a good job.
Foster, along with state police Investigator Peter Minahan, laid out information for Raucci. A portion of a secretly recorded tape was played.
“We have a lot of conversations,” Foster told Raucci. “That’s just one of them.”
Foster also asked whether Raucci had ever seen Minahan before.
Raucci didn’t remember.
“We didn’t meet,” Minahan explained, “but I sat near you in Sally’s Diner one time. Just basically, I had to get some DNA from you.”
The DNA was a match, they told him. Prosecutors have said a cigarette used as failed fuse in an attempted Schodack bombing had Raucci’s DNA on it.
Raucci gave little reaction.
They also tried to get Raucci to give an explanation for his alleged actions — and try to identify themselves with the motives they believed Raucci had.
Prosecutors were going to want to know whether Raucci was just someone who “gets off on just terrorizing people,” whether he’s a sociopath or a nut.
“Because, you know on its face, somebody may infer that,” Foster told Raucci, then indicating he understood the actions. “To be honest with you, some of the stuff you’ve done, in some ways, I can respect that.”
Foster added that, as police, they try to hold people accountable.
“We just don’t have the luxury of doing it the way you do,” Foster said.
Raucci gave little response.
Raucci also later rebuffed questions that he “put a face” on his alleged motives. He told the investigators there was “no good ending,” whether someone was arrested for doing something with a reason or without, was a bad guy or a good guy.
“Even if I was a good guy and I was convicted of whatever it is you have, it’s still not a good ending for me. I mean, there’s no good ending here.”