Schenectady County

Schenectady brothers’ shooting case goes to jury

An admitted member of the Four Block gang is the only person tying a city teen to the 2010 shooting

An admitted member of the Four Block gang is the only person tying a city teen to the 2010 shooting of two brothers, one of whom was 11 years old, a defense attorney told a Schenectady County Court jury Tuesday.

Attorney Mark Gaylord told the jury that the witness’ testimony is not to be believed, as the witness not only is getting leniency in another case for his testimony, but, by fingering Kody Pierce as the second shooter, took suspicion off himself.

Prosecutor Peter Willis countered that witness Tommie Caldwell’s testimony fit perfectly with the victim’s testimony and with testimony from an uninvolved witness.

Any other view wouldn’t make sense, Willis told the jury. It would be like Caldwell simply got lucky on multiple points of the story.

“He didn’t get lucky time and time and time again when the talked to you,” Willis told the jury in closing arguments. Willis soon gestured toward the defendant. What other witnesses said fit with what he said. He didn’t get lucky, he got it right because he saw what happened. He saw that man shooting at that little boy and his brother.”

Pierce, 20, has been standing trial since last week on attempted murder and first-degree assault counts. Closing arguments in the case took place Tuesday morning. Deliberations began Tuesday afternoon and ran for six hours, including a two-hour in-court read back of testimony. Deliberations are to resume Thursday due to a scheduling issue.

Pierce is accused of being the second shooter in the June 23, 2010, wounding of brothers Shaune Daniels, 18, and Nasjarah Pulliam, 11.

Both brothers survived. Daniels suffered a gunshot wound to his chest, collapsing a lung. Pulliam took the worst, a gunshot to his head. The younger brother has since made a remarkable recovery.

The mother of the two brothers, Tanya Daniels, has attended much of the trial. She quietly sobbed in the gallery at one point in testimony Monday, as an Albany Medical Center doctor described the extent of Nasjarah’s head injury.

Another man, Kirel Prince, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of first-degree assault. Prince admitted to firing at the brothers’ backs, targeting Daniels as they walked away.

Prince told a judge then that the shooting was based on past trouble between the two and, that day, a simple Daniels smirk. Prince, though, did not testify in Pierce’s trial. Prince is to receive 18 years in prison.

Daniels could only identify Prince as a shooter, but testified he heard two distinct bursts of fire from two different guns.

Prince was arrested the month after the shooting. Pierce wasn’t arrested until April 21, 2011; his arrest came 15 days after Caldwell’s arrest on an apparent probation violation.

Caldwell was picked up that day with another man, after an intensive police search of Front Street near the Stockade area. The search began after the men ditched a Range Rover.

Then, in May 2011, Caldwell was one of 19 men indicted, accused of membership in the Four Block gang. In that case, Caldwell pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy count. He faces sentencing next month to up to 10 years in federal prison, records show.

Pierce’s attorney Gaylord suggested Caldwell’s sentence would be lessened by his testimony.

Gaylord also noted testimony from a detective that Caldwell had been ruled out as a suspect the first day. But Gaylord also said investigators showed a photo array with Caldwell to a witness three days later, suggesting to the jury that Caldwell was a suspect.

Gaylord also highlighted Caldwell’s Four Block gang connections, arguing Caldwell was going around intimidating people and trying to kill rivals as a member of the gang.

“Hmm, that’s what happened to Mr. Daniels that day, isn’t it?” Gaylord told the jury.

Gaylord added later, “the real benefit he received was that he was no longer a suspect in the shooting of this 11-year-old boy in the head on Hamilton Hill. He had everything to gain by implicating Kody. And, quite frankly, the police had everything to gain by believing what he said.”

Willis, though, argued that Caldwell’s account matched that of Daniels and the uninvolved witness. It matched the order of the shooting, a high-five Daniels gave to someone before walking past the group, it also matched that there were two shooters.

The shooting broke out in front of 408 Schenectady St. The uninvolved witness testified she was in Jerry Burrell Park.

The two-hour testimony read back in court Tuesday afternoon covered the testimony of all three main witnesses, Caldwell, Daniels and the park witness.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply