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Man convicted, teen acquitted in Schenectady assault case

Thursday, July 12, 2012
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— One man faces up to 25 years in prison and another man walked out of court a free man after verdicts Wednesday in an attempted murder case.

The case stemmed from a Sept. 7 slashing and shooting on Kelton Avenue, near Quin’s Deli.

Three men were initially charged with slashing a man’s face and shooting at him in retaliation for his theft of marijuana and money the day before. The group waited near the deli for the victim to come by. When he did, they attacked.

Convicted of first-degree gang assault and other charges was Rupert Andrews, 27, formerly of Duane Avenue.

He faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing Aug. 30. He was acquitted of one count of second-degree attempted murder.

Andrews was found to have organized the retaliation against the victim, holding him as another assailant slashed the victim’s face, prosecutor Peter Willis said. The attack left the victim with a 10-centimeter scar on his cheek.

The victim made his way to the Imperial Motel, where employees summoned police and paramedics.

It was Andrews’ marijuana and money that was stolen by the victim the day before, Willis said, following an altercation with another group. The victim admitted to taking the items.

Acquitted on all charges, though, was 16-year-old Clarence Stanford of Emmett Street. Stanford had been accused of firing a gun at the victim. The victim was not hit.

Key to Stanford’s acquittal was the victim’s inability to identify him during testimony. The victim previously said he could, Willis said.

That left testimony only from possible co-defendants, apparently leading the jury to acquittal, attorneys said. “I don’t believe the jury had enough other evidence in the case [against Stanford] once the victim changed his story,” Willis said.

Representing Stanford was attorney Michael Braccini, who said his client was thrilled with the verdict. Stanford had been in custody since his September arrest but was released after the verdict.

“They did the right thing,” Braccini said of the jury. “In large part, that was due to the victim coming into the courtroom and setting the record straight.”

The third man charged in the attack was Jerod Hemingway, 24, of Albany Street. He pleaded guilty earlier to second-degree attempted gang assault. He is to get five years in prison.

A fourth man who was there was not charged, Willis said, as prosecutors concluded he didn’t have a substantial role in the incident.

The case was heard in Schenectady County Court before Judge Frank P. Milano.

 
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