Schenectady County

Prosecutor: Schenectady shooting target’s survival a miracle

Curits Perkins, 23, of Schenectady, faces one count of second-degree attempted murder, along with we

The gunman was only a couple feet from his target. The target was trapped in a State Street bus shelter.

As the target tried to edge his way out, the gunman, Curtis Perkins, pulled the trigger, prosecutor Amy Monahan told a Schenectady County Court jury Thursday.

But nothing happened.

“You might as well be looking at a dead man in Mr. McNeal,” she told the jury of Ashton McNeal’s expected testimony. “It is a miracle that he is here. It just wasn’t his time.”

Given the opening, McNeal and two others in the bus stop fled down State Street. After checking the gun, Perkins got it to work, firing repeatedly at them as they fled.

No one was hurt in the Jan. 3 incident, but an empty taxi company vehicle had two windows shot out and the bus shelter was damaged, Monahan said.

Standing trial is Perkins, 23, of Schenectady. He faces one count of second-degree attempted murder in the incident, along with weapons, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief counts.

In his own opening statement, defense attorney Fred Rench told the jury he believed the case would come down to just one witness, McNeal. In the end, there would be no credible proof that Perkins was involved.

Though not mentioned in openings, there is a long history of allegations against Perkins. He’s currently serving up to seven years on a prior weapons conviction. That sentence was increased because he was arrested in the State Street shooting while out awaiting sentencing in that case.

Perkins also faces much more time in a federal conspiracy case. He was one of several indicted in May, accused of being an active member of the Four Block Gang that operated in Schenectady and firing at a rival gang member in July 2010.

In the case on trial in Schenectady County Court, Perkins faces up to 25 years in state prison, if convicted.

Perkins allegedly shot at McNeal in an ongoing dispute related to a woman both knew. Perkins was dating her and McNeal had fathered a son with her years earlier, Monahan told the jury.

The shooting took place the same day as McNeal won a victory in Family Court, winning unsupervised visits with his son.

It also took place just over a year after Perkins threatened McNeal in Hamilton Hill with a gun.

Monahan also pointed out that Perkins lived at the time at a McClellan Street address, less than a block from the bus stop.

Only McNeal saw Perkins at the bus stop. The other two in the shelter had never seen Perkins before. His face was also partially obscured by a hooded sweat shirt. But from his vantage point, McNeal was able to see Perkins, Monahan said.

Rench, however, argued that if shots were fired, it wasn’t Perkins who fired them. Rench suggested McNeal doesn’t know who did it, but fingered Perkins anyway.

Rench also disputed basic details of the shooting, including how many shots were fired.

“There will be no credible proof that that man committed any of these crimes,” Rench told the jury, referring to his client. “None of them. There will be no credible proof.”

The case is being heard before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye.

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