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Man sent to prison in Schenectady baseball bat assault

Friday, August 30, 2013
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— A man accused last fall of hitting a 14-year-old boy over the head with a souvenir baseball bat was sentenced Friday to three years in prison.

Alexander J. Messina, 21, appeared contrite in Schenectady County Court, expressing remorse for what he did and saying he is glad the victim is doing better.

Messina pleaded guilty earlier to one count of second-degree assault, admitting he hit the boy over the head the morning of Nov. 18, 2012, at the corner of Congress Street and Sixth Avenue.

On Friday, he echoed comments he made to the Probation Department in a pre-sentencing report: “I just want to say that I am sorry for what I did, and I do have remorse,” he said.

He said he has learned his lesson and learned from his mistake.

The attack occurred as part of an ongoing dispute between the victim’s family and a group that included Messina, prosecutor William Sanderson said. The property owned by the boy’s family had sustained vandalism, and there were suspicions over who did it. That led to the confrontation.

At the time, the boy was armed with some kind of chain, either a bike or tow chain, Sanderson said.

Messina abandoned any claim of self-defense, his attorney, Brian Mercy, said, and acknowledged he had a duty to retreat if he had been confronted.

After being hit over the head, the boy walked home, Sanderson said. Soon, though, he began experiencing symptoms indicating a concussion. Doctors had to insert a metal plate in the skull of the boy, identified by family as Richard Retos, and he spent about three weeks in the hospital.

Sanderson said he had been unable to reach the family recently, and no victim impact statement was offered. But, he said, in his last conversation with family, they told him the boy had fully recovered.

Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Frank P. Milano had the option of sentencing Messina to as much as five years in prison, but he gave Messina three years, citing his lack of criminal history and continued expressions of remorse.

Two other Schenectady residents were also charged in the attack, Sanderson said. They also have pleaded guilty to assault.

Jeremy Ahrens, 21, is to receive six months in jail, while Tyler Korkosz, 20, is to receive one year. The sentences reflect the extent of their roles in the attack, Sanderson said.

 
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