A Schenectady man who for years stymied a police investigation into the shooting death of a young woman in his car lost an appeal to reduce his lengthy prison term.
The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court issued its opinion Thursday against Craig “Gutter” Williams, 25, formerly of 1987 Southgate Drive.
Williams argued evidence at his non-jury trial did not support his conviction for perjury and that his prison term of 101⁄2 to 21 years was excessive.
Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino found Williams guilty of six felony first-degree perjury counts and one misdemeanor perjury count in February 2007.
Williams lied to a grand jury in 2004 about his involvement in the Sept. 30, 2003, shooting death of Unishon Mollette. In 2006, a second grand jury indicted him for perjury in connection to the 2004 grand jury testimony.
Williams argued his testimony before the first grand jury could not be used against him because it was not investigating Mollette’s death, only the charge against him of tampering with physical evidence. He was acquitted on this charge.
However, the appellate court said the first grand jury was clearly investigating charges which arose “out of an incident that occurred Sept. 30, 2003, in the city of Schenectady.”
The judges said Williams’ 2004 statements that he did not know the people involved in her death were later contradicted by testimony in a trial involving Kenneth Portee. Portee received 50 years to life in 2007 for shooting Mollette.
The judges said, had Williams told the truth in 2004, police could have solved the homicide years earlier. They said his actions “not only impeded the investigation and subsequent prosecution, but also had an agonizing effect on the victim’s family.”
Williams met Mollette when she was a student at Schenectady County Community College. They were friends. She was 19 at the time of her death.
She was shot as she sat in the back seat of Williams’ car when Portee fired a handgun repeatedly at the car, apparently thinking the occupants were a threat to him.
After Mollette was taken to a hospital, following the shooting on Stanley Street, Williams hid his car so police would not question him. This led to the tampering charge.
During trial testimony, witnesses portrayed Williams as a callous character concerned more about retrieving his blood-stained, bullet-ridden car from police than with the welfare of Mollette. One witness said Williams refused to take her to the hospital, telling a passenger to “kick the bitch out of the car” rather than run the risk of dealing with police.
Police continued to work the case for several years, and in 2005 a grand jury returned indictments against Williams for perjury and Portee for murder.
Mollette’s father, Steven, said Williams never has expressed remorse for what happened to his daughter and that his lack of cooperation with police put his family through four years of sorrow.