A local man with a history of violent felonies was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in state prison in connection with a street robbery last year of a homeless man in Schenectady.
But the suspect wasn’t in court to hear his sentence.
Mark Brown, 37, formerly of Schenectady, was sentenced Wednesday in absentia, after he apparently skipped town after pleading guilty to an attempted robbery count last November.
Brown agreed in November to plead guilty to attempted robbery in exchange for the minimum possible for someone with his past: 12 years to life.
He had been out under probation supervision since May, and, with a good track record, Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino allowed Brown to stay free pending sentencing.
But Brown was warned that if didn’t show up, he could face the maximum of 25 years to life.
Giardino made good on his word Wednesday, sentencing Brown to just that.
“I find his utter disregard for the court’s allowing him to remain out, and his utter disregard for the law, shows contempt for this court,” Giardino said.
Giardino then set aside the agreed-upon sentence and imposed the maximum.
Brown and two others attacked the homeless man early April 9, 2010, as the 58-year-old made his way from Scotia back to the City Mission.
The man turned onto Broadway from State Street and a group that included Brown began to follow, prosecutors have said.
As the victim crossed Broadway, the group ran him down and started punching him and kicking him, prosecutors said. They also ripped his wallet from his pants.
The victim wasn’t seriously injured but was shaken up.
The case was helped by a witness who watched as the homeless man was robbed, called police and helped direct police to the suspect.
Two other suspects, with lesser criminal records, pleaded guilty earlier to the same count. One received four years, another faced up to three years in prison.
Brown’s sentence was increased because of his criminal record, which included a decade-old burglary conviction for which he was sentenced to nine years in state prison.
Brown was arrested and held soon after the incident. But delays in getting the case to the grand jury allowed Brown’s defense attorney, Steve Rockmacher, to win Brown’s release to probation supervision after a deadline passed.
Prosecutor John Healy said the delays came after problems in locating the victim.
After being released, Brown attended drug counseling and worked at a local McDonald’s, attorneys said.
Brown pleaded guilty Nov. 30 to one count of second-degree attempted robbery, a felony. The plea came as his trial was about to begin.
At the time of the plea, Giardino allowed him to stay out, referencing Brown’s counseling, telling him to continue it.
Wednesday’s sentencing came after three delays, given to Rockmacher to locate Brown. Rockmacher’s efforts proved unsuccessful.
When Brown is captured, he will be brought into County Court to hear his sentence and then be taken to prison to begin serving his sentence.
Categories: Schenectady County