Man guilty in Schenectady market killing

Wade McCommons was convicted of 13 charges, including counts of manslaughter, attempted robbery, bur

Wade McCommons stared forward blankly as he was found guilty Thursday afternoon of the second-degree murder of Laurel Teer during a botched robbery attempt at the Eastern Avenue Deli & Grocery.

The member of the Nine Trey Gangster sect of the Bloods was first convicted on a half-dozen charges stemming from a strong-arm burglary on Rugby Road. Then he was convicted on another seven charges related to the shooting death of Teer on June 5, 2009.

A group of his family members gasped at the second-degree murder conviction, while several of his friends began to sob softly. His father stormed out of the courtroom. McCommons, 26, stood quietly beside defense attorney Adam Parisi.

In all, McCommons was convicted of 13 charges, including counts of manslaughter, attempted robbery, burglary and unlawful imprisonment. He was acquitted on counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, but still faces 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 19.

The jury deliberated for 10 hours and 30 minutes, poring over the more than 270 pieces of evidence introduced during the three-week trial. District Attorney Robert Carney called 41 people to the stand during 11 days of testimony.

Carney acknowledged he presented a lot of evidence for the jury to sift through. But ultimately, he said, they convicted a gang leader who posed a threat to the community.

“I think he’s a very dangerous man,” he said following the verdict.

McCommons also faces several minor charges from a pair of incidents while he was being held in the Schenectady County Jail, plus a weapons charge in Albany County.

On the evening of her death, the 41-year-old Teer went to the store to purchase beer and lottery tickets. She lingered at the counter for a minute after realizing she had bought a winner.

Her luck ran out quickly. As she waited to cash in the ticket, a man dressed in a black Champion hoodie with a red bandana charged in behind her, brandishing a silver pistol.

In a surveillance video taken from the store, Teer doesn’t appear to acknowledge the man behind her until he pushes up against her. She reacts by pushing back against him from the counter.

“You betta’ step,” the gunman says to her in the video, still aiming his gun at the clerk. “You betta’ step.”

“Will you get off me,” she growls back.

Teer then kicks the gunman in the groin and he responds by smacking her in the head with the gun barrel. There’s a loud blast and Teer falls to the ground. The startled gunman drops his weapon.

He then grabs Teer’s limp body with one hand and retrieves the gun with the other. Seconds later, he bolts from the store.

The investigation into the shooting quickly focused on McCommons. A fellow gang member approached a parole officer in the days after Teer’s death, claiming McCommons had admitted to being the gunman. The confidential informant also alerted investigators of where to find the Lorcin 9mm semiautomatic pistol used to kill Teer.

Police arrested fellow Bloods member James Porter seven days after the shooting; he was found with the gun tucked in the waistband of his pants.

Prosecutors said the handgun moved between members of the gang and was kept at a Bridge Street crack house, where McCommons had access to it. They claimed that nine days before the killing, he grabbed the weapon to force his way into a Rugby Street home and hold a woman at gunpoint, while a friend rifled through her belongings.

McCommons apparently cut his hand on a shattered window of the front door, as investigators found blood smears with his DNA on the woman’s shirt and on a wall in the home.

Carney said the motive for the crime spree was, “He wanted to buy his girlfriend something nice for her birthday,” during his closing statements Monday.

Less than three months after Teer’s death, McCommons was locked up on a federal parole violation. Prosecutors filed charges stemming from the killing shortly before McCommons was scheduled to be released from a federal penitentiary in Kentucky in September 2010.

Parisi argued much of the case against McCommons was built on faulty testimony from unreliable witnesses with criminal backgrounds and plea deals in hand for their cooperation. He said the ballistics tests from the Lorcin recovered by police proved inconclusive and that DNA evidence pulled from Teer’s bloody sweatshirt showed no evidence that she was ever touched by McCommons.

Family members also questioned whether McCommons got a fair trial. Rickey Sherron, McCommons’ father, said jurors were prejudiced against his son because he was tried on both the home invasion and store robbery charges at the same time.

Sherron also questioned why there were only three black jurors in a pool of more than 100. And he wondered how jurors could put their faith in the testimony of witnesses who were offered deals to testify against his son.

“He was railroaded,” Sherron said from the porch of his Delamont Avenue home. “They brought my son to the chopping block because they needed a scapegoat.”

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply