Holding of suspect upheld in GPS tracking case

The hearing was finally held. But the end result was the same.

The hearing was finally held. But the end result was the same.

In a criminal case involving GPS tracking of a robbery suspect that was sent back to the lower court twice for needed hearings, the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court finally ruled Thursday, essentially keeping David Mabeus in prison.

At issue in Thursday’s ruling was whether police had probable cause to stop and arrest Mabeus.

The Appellate Division found that state troopers worked quickly after detaining Mabeus for investigation into a McDonald’s robbery, holding him for just more than a half hour that day, Aug. 9, 2003, before getting enough information to make the arrest.

Mabeus, now 50, pleaded guilty in 2004 to one count of second-degree robbery. The plea was in connection with a heist at the Route 50 McDonald’s in Glenville.

The plea was taken with the understanding that Mabeus could appeal the denial of a request for a crucial hearing.

He was sentenced to 20 years and is now more than six years into the sentence.

An initial appeal centered around a GPS device placed through a court order on Mabeus’ truck after he became a suspect in a series of heists.

The Appellate Division later found the warrant to be valid, but the court required more information to determine whether the circumstances surrounding Mabeus’ stop were enough to make the arrest.

At the hearing, held this past year, testimony indicated police watched Mabeus’ home after the heist. Mabeus rolled through a stop sign, then into his driveway. The officers drew their weapons and ordered him to the ground.

The McDonald’s had been robbed with a gun and an axe and Mabeus had made previous threats to officers. While pulling the GPS information, which later showed Mabeus near the McDonald’s, officers also spotted an axe in his truck bed.

The Appellate Division found that officers were within their rights, given what they knew of Mabeus’ prior history, to hold him for the 35 minutes to sort the situation out.

“Given the facts of this case, we cannot say that the mere pat-frisk of the defendant … was sufficient to dispel the troopers’ concerns for their safety and/or neutralize the very real threat that defendant posed to them,” the court ruled.

Mabeus was represented by attorney Fred Rench.

Categories: Schenectady County

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