Schenectady County

Teen suspect in Sch’dy killings refuses plea bargain deal

One of the suspects in the killing of alleged Four Block gang member Alphanzo Pittman and another ma

One of the suspects in the killing of alleged Four Block gang member Alphanzo Pittman and another man declined plea offers Monday, pressing his case to trial.

Also Monday, a pretrial hearing revealed more about what prosecutors believe led up to the killings.

Jalil Miles, 18, appeared in Schenectady County Court Monday morning for pre-trial hearings and jury selection in the case.

Before the hearings, prosecutor Tracey Brunecz placed three offers on the table.

One included cooperation against the last remaining suspect and a sentence of 18 years to life. Another included the same sentence, no cooperation but required the last suspect to plead Monday as well.

The last included no cooperation, but a sentence of 20 years to life.

To emphasize her point, Brunecz told the court the maximum Miles faced if he is convicted is 50 years to life.

“The people want Mr. Miles to understand,” Brunecz told the court, “that we have a lot of evidence in this case. That, should we prevail — and I believe we will prevail, I mean prevail on both murders and every count in the indictment — that we will be seeking the maximum of 25 to life on each murder, to run consecutive. Therefore, he is looking at 50 to life.”

Miles, though, rejected all the offers and pre-trial hearings and then jury selection began.

Miles was originally one of three accused in the March 26, 2010, killings of 17-year-old Alphanzo Pittman and 21-year-old Virgil Terry.

Still charged in the killings is Michael Capers, 18. He is being tried separately from Miles.

A third man, Dashaun Terry, 19, a cousin of Miles and brother of victim Virgil Terry, appeared in court last week in sealed proceedings. Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago sealed them on motions from prosecutors and the defense.

Public access to the proceedings, Drago wrote in her sealing order, “would result in a reasonable likelihood that the safety of witnesses and the ongoing investigation of criminal matters would be jeopardized.”

The Daily Gazette was not present for the sealing.

The status of Dashaun Terry’s case was not available, but Miles’ attorney, Michael Horan, said in court Monday morning that he expects Dashaun Terry to testify at Miles’ trial.

Horan said he expects Dashaun Terry to testify that he gave Miles a gun.

Authorities have contended all three murder suspects arrived together at the Hamilton Hill scene, along with victim Virgil Terry. Pittman‘s death was intended, prosecutors have said, but Virgil Terry‘s death wasn’t.

The Terry brothers, Miles and Capers confronted a group that included Pittman. Prosecutors have said there is no evidence that Pittman or those with him fired or even had weapons that day. The shooting resulted from an argument that escalated. The two sides knew each other from previous encounters, prosecutors said last year.

Pittman was shot in the back and leg; Terry was shot in the chest. The men were found lying on the west and east sides of Hulett Street, near Albany Street. Terry died on the way to Ellis Hospital and Pittman shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The killings, already high-profile, took on even more interest in May with the indictments of 44 individuals, many of whom were identified as members of the Four Block Gang.

Authorities said then they believe the Four Block Gang controlled much of the drug dealing in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood, committing drive-by shootings to protect turf and feuding with rival gangs.

Those feuds, one of the indictments reads, “resulted in murders and attempted murders.”

Pittman was identified in the indictment as a member of Four Block, his death serving as a rallying point for the group. Members routinely wore rubber bracelets as a tribute to Pittman.

In arguments before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Frank P. Milano, prosecutors sought to use several alleged bad acts by Miles at trial, either on their direct case, or in possible cross-examination of Miles.

Among the allegations was that Miles was a member of a rival gang called ABG, short for “Anybody gets it.” Prosecutors allege that was apparently at odds with Four Block.

Prosecutors wanted to use allegations that Miles shot alleged Four Block member Curtis Perkins and another man, and shot at alleged Four Block member Justin Belle in the days leading up to the Pittman-Terry killings.

But Milano wouldn’t allow reference to the allegations, finding them too prejudicial. While the gun used in the other incidents was linked to Miles, it couldn’t be linked to the killings. Miles was never charged in the non-fatal shootings.

Both Perkins and Belle were among those charged in the federal indictment.

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