A city man last summer shot up an Elbert Street home with three children inside, a prosecutor said Tuesday morning. It turned out to be the wrong house.
The incident followed an argument between the shooter, Joshua Harwood, and his former girlfriend, prosecutor Peter Willis said in opening statements at Harwood’s trial.
No one was hurt in the shooting, and none of Harwood’s targets were inside because he went to the wrong house, Willis said. His intended targets were in a house two doors down, Willis said.
But the shooting, Willis told the jury, left the family inside changed forever.
“Fortunately, for all involved, it was not changed because of physical injury, but it was changed for no reason whatsoever. They were the victims of an unintended, illogical and mistaken shooting by that man and his friends,” Willis told the jury, pointing to Harwood.
Meanwhile, Harwood’s attorney, James Walsh, argued there would be no evidence linking his client to the crime. Even GPS evidence prosecutors say puts a car linked to Harwood on the next street over at the time of the shooting doesn’t say who was driving or in that car, Walsh told the jury.
The entire case against his client, Walsh said, was a “bucket full of steam.”
Harwood, 30, of Clarendon Street, is standing trial in Schenectady County Court on multiple counts, including second-degree attempted murder and first-degree attempted assault. He is accused of shooting up the Elbert Street home with two others on June 12, 2012. Bullets were found lodged in interior walls, including children’s rooms.
Willis said the shooting happened after Harwood got into an argument over the phone with his ex-girlfriend. The argument escalated to the point where Harwood made threats against her and her new boyfriend, including a threat to kill the boyfriend, Willis said.
Following the threat, Harwood allegedly picked up some friends and parked on Edward Street, a street parallel to Elbert Street. From there, the group went through backyards and shot up the wrong house, Willis told the jury.
Willis said it is undisputable the car linked to Harwood was on Edward Street. The vehicle already had a GPS unit attached to it by state police. Harwood is believed to have been the suspect in a string of burglaries. He faces about 10 burglary counts in several counties.
Harwood had access to the guns used and the ammunition, Willis said. He also had the motive and access to the car parked on Edward Street. With all that, Willis told the jury, the attempted murder count is appropriate.
“When you shoot a house 20 times, with handguns and a shotgun, you’re not trying to injure somebody, you’re not trying to send a message. You’re trying to kill someone,” Willis said.
Even if Harwood did not fire a weapon or even if he stayed in the car, he would be just as guilty, Willis argued. The people he was with were never found, Willis said.
Harwood attorney Walsh called Willis’ story a nice one, but just that — a story. Walsh pointed to different theories to show prosecutors don’t know what happened. They also have no proof Harwood committed the crime.
“The people have a bucket full of steam, and they are asking you to believe that it’s more than just a bucket full of steam,” Walsh told the jury.
The case is being heard before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye.
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