Schenectady County

Murder indictments reported in ’08 Schenectady killing

A new account of the final moments of Foday Kpoto came out in the indictment of his alleged killers,

A new account of the final moments of Foday Kpoto came out in the indictment of his alleged killers, handed up Wednesday.

In the account, the suspects, Matthew Blanding and Raquan Banks, are accused of driving through the streets of Schenectady early May 31, 2008, intending to shoot a specific individual.

At about 1 a.m., they came upon a group at the corner of Becker and Elder streets. Blanding, the driver, threw the car into reverse, intending for Banks to get a clearer shot at the group from the car window.

Banks pointed the handgun out the window as Blanding put the car back into drive, “pulling it forward to keep up with members of this group as they ran away from the defendants and their car,” the indictment reported Wednesday reads, “and [Banks fired] a shot from the window of the car toward these pedestrians.”

That shot, authorities now believe, hit who it was aimed at — Kpoto. The bullet hit him in the head, and he fell against a chain-link fence and died.

But authorities believe that Kpoto wasn’t the individual Banks and Blanding were out hunting that morning, according to the indictment. That was someone with no connection to Kpoto other than wearing similar clothing and being in the same area of the city.

Banks, 23, and Blanding, 25, were each indicted Wednesday on two counts of second-degree murder. They were each arrested in August, more than three years after the killing.

Prosecutor Philip Mueller reaffirmed Wednesday that authorities don’t believe Kpoto was the target. He declined to discuss who that target may have been or why Banks and Blanding may have been targeting him. But, he said, there’s no evidence that either Banks or Blanding had any dispute with Kpoto.

Kpoto was killed only hours after he arrived in the city by bus. He had once lived in Schenectady but had moved to Maryland and was back in the city visiting family and friends.

Banks and Blanding each face two counts of second-degree murder, based on two theories. One charge accuses them of intending to cause the death of another person, then causing the death of Kpoto. The other accuses them of acting with depraved indifference to human life. They also face one count each of second-degree conspiracy and multiple weapons counts.

Blanding also faces multiple counts of hindering prosecution and one count of tampering with physical evidence and criminal facilitation, accused of helping Banks during and after the shooting.

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