Albany boxer’s murder conviction upheld

A once-promising heavyweight boxer, who was convicted in 2005 in the brutal murder of a woman in a c
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A once-promising heavyweight boxer, who was convicted in 2005 in the brutal murder of a woman in a city park, has lost his appeal in court.

The state Appellate Division unanimously upheld the murder conviction of Jo-el Scott, 37,of Albany.

Scott was convicted of beating Dorothy Royal, 59, to death in Lincoln Park in the early morning hours of June 11, 2004 in what police describe as one of the most brutal crime scenes they have ever seen.

Scott appealed his conviction on several grounds, including insufficient evidence against him. In his appeal, he said he was at the crime scene in Lincoln Park because he was defending Royal against two male assailants who were attacking her.

Scott also said he could not have carried out the attack because he was intoxicated.

And, he said, the court should not have allowed his boxing records into evidence or allowed him to be questioned about being a boxer.

The state Appellate Division rejected each of his claims and unanimously ruled that Scott knew the gender of the victim without being told, denied raping without being questioned , admitted to having paid Royal for sex and acknowledged he was “going away for life.”

The court said the officer who questioned Scott at the police station testified that Scott asked him if Royal was dead and later said: “I murdered before. I told myself I would never murder again.’

Further, the court said that Royal died of “exceptionally violent, blunt-force trauma to the head and strangulation , that the blood found on Scott was the victim’s and that DNA of both the victim and Scott were present….”

At the trial, Scott testified he was at the scene and covered with the victim’s blood because while he defended Royal against two male assailants, he got her blood on him.

The court said because of the variety of evidence that connected Scott to the crime scene and the murder, his other account of what occurred raised credibility issues for the jury.

“The finding that Scott was the victim’s assailant is not against the weight of the evidence,” the court said.

Claims that he was unable to commit the crime because he was intoxicated were also rejected. Although the court said there is evidence Scott was intoxicated, evidence “established that he was aware of his intentions and able to provide a detailed account of events following his arrest.”

An arresting officer said if Scott was intoxicated, it did not seriously impair him.

In harsh language, the court said in addition to eyewitnesses describing Scott repeatedly punching Royal, the forensic evidence and other evidence that Scott was a trained professional boxer, provided an ample basis for the jury’s conclusion that Scott’s objective was to kill Royal.

At the time of the trial, prosecutors said his motive was rape and the court supports that and said evidence shows Scott killed Royal in an attempted rape and attempted sexual assault.

The court also said it was appropriate to allow his boxing background to be considered by the jury.

“County court found these records, which included 19 wins by knockout, relevant to whether he possessed the ability to kill a person with his fists and his awareness of such lethal capacity and the intent inferable from repeatedly punching the 59-year old victim.”

Scott said his oral statements should not have been allowed because he was questioned before being advised of his Miranda rights.

Again the court rejected his claims and said his statements were spontaneous, not the result of express questioning and his statements were voluntary.

Royal lived at the Ida Yarborough housing project. She was frequently seen walking around Lincoln Park,

collecting empty bottles. She was walking through the park June 11, 2004, on her way to redeem the cans and bottles she had collected when Scott killed her.

Scott was the 1993 national amateur super heavyweight champion

and appeared on a path toward the top of the professional circuit in

the mid-1990s, until crime problems derailed his career.

He served four years in prison after pleading guilty to trying

to forcibly rape a 12-year-old and having sex with three underage girls

in 1996. He also admitted leaving the scene of an accident in 1996 that

critically injured a small boy.

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