Schenectady County

Schenectady man claims innocence in home invasion but gets 20 years

A city man continued to proclaim his innocence Friday at his sentencing in a home invasion case wher

A city man continued to proclaim his innocence Friday at his sentencing in a home invasion case where an accomplice put a gun to the head of a 3-year-old child.

The judge, however, repeated key testimony that she believed — and more importantly, the jury believed — was credible and sentenced the man to 20 years in state prison.

Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye imposed the sentence on 29-year-old Shawn Young after Young’s attorney Michael Meenan spoke at length, arguing his client’s innocence, saying how out of character the act was at that time in his client’s life and expressing his frustration at his client not testifying at trial.

Meenan was not the trial attorney; he was hired after the verdict. Young was more direct.

“I am innocent of these charges,” Young told the court. “I have not changed that from the beginning. I was a working man who has learned from his mistakes in the past.”

He was referring to a 1997 Schenectady bank robbery for which he served time in federal prison.

In her own comments, Hoye cited testimony from one of the victims, a woman the judge noted admitted to a checkered past, including drug dealing. She found the woman’s testimony credible. The woman had known Young most of her life. There was also testimony that Young met with her later and conceded he wouldn’t have robbed her if he’d known it was her.

“I don’t think there were a lot of questions in the jury’s mind about the identity issue,” Hoye said. “Sometimes eyewitness testimony is quite compelling. I believe that was the case here.”

As for any questions about Young’s choice not to testify, Hoye recounted how she explicitly went over Young’s options at trial with him, making clear it was his choice, not his attorney’s or anyone else’s.

Young, formerly of Becker Street, was convicted in May of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery.

The jury found Young was one of two people who broke into the Mynderse Street apartment of Candi Anderson early Aug. 19, 2010, demanding cocaine and cash. The sentencing took place on the one-year anniversary of the home invasion.

Two other men were also present with Anderson. No one was injured. The two adult male victims, identified as William Davis, 56, and Winston Tull, 56, were put on the floor at gunpoint before the gunmen turned their attention to Anderson.

The second invader, who was never identified, put the gun to the child’s head, prosecutor Ed Moynihan told the jury at trial. Young has refused to identify his partner.

Young again refused after the verdict, Moynihan told Hoye on Friday. He asked the judge to take that into account, as well as Young’s lack of remorse, as she weighed his sentence.

Meenan, however, told the judge Young couldn’t identify the other perpetrator because he wasn’t involved himself.

Young was sentenced to 71⁄2 years in federal prison for a daylight heist at the former First National Bank of Scotia branch on Albany Street in 1997. The bank later closed the branch.

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