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Grand jury indicts trooper assault suspect

Attempted murder charge could draw life

March 8, 2013
Updated 11:14 p.m.
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Eric L. Green
Eric L. Green

— The man accused of the unprovoked stabbing of a state trooper last Sunday at Empire State Plaza has been indicted on charges including attempted first-degree murder, a charge that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Eric Green, 18, of Albany, was indicted by an Albany County grand jury on Friday on five felony charges, the most serious of which is attempted first-degree murder, in connection with the stabbing of Trooper Rodney Smith while he was on duty.

The attempted first-degree murder charge carries the possibility of a 25-year-to-life prison sentence. A spokeswoman for District Attorney P. David Soares said an attempted first-degree murder charge applies under state law because the victim of the assault was a law enforcement officer.

The indictment also charges Green with first-degree assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, and two counts of first-degree robbery, all of which are Class B violent felonies. Those charges carry 25-year maximum sentences.

The indictment alleges that at about 3:20 p.m. last Sunday at the Empire State Plaza, Green intended to cause Smith’s death when he stabbed him with steak knife. Smith was stabbed in the neck and sustained injuries that required emergency surgery at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Police said the blade barely missed an artery. Smith, a 15-year veteran of the state police, was released from the hospital on Tuesday, and state police said they expect him to make a full recovery.

During the incident Green allegedly took a police radio from Smith, which is the basis for the robbery charges.

Green, who is in custody without bail, will be arraigned early next week in Albany County Court, according to Soares. A City Court judge at his initial arraignment ordered a mental health evaluation.

The stabbing took place while Smith was on routine foot patrol around the state Capitol. Police said Green approached Smith as the trooper walked along the Empire State Plaza concourse near the Madison Avenue entrance, and said that he was new in town and looking for a place to stay. Smith had just asked him for identification when Green allegedly pulled out a steak knife and stabbed him. During an ensuing struggle, Smith suffered more wounds to the neck and face, and along his arms and hands, police said. They said Green also tried unsuccessfully to take the trooper's handgun. After the assault, Smith was able to use his cellphone to call for help.

Initially, the assailant got away. There was a massive search around the Empire State Plaza and throughout downtown Albany immediately after the incident.

Green, who is believed to be transient, was apprehended Tuesday while walking near Washington and Western avenues. He was arrested without incident, and has been in jail without bail since then.

 
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