Schenectady County

Man guilty of assault in Schenectady shooting

Thomas Burns shot a man, paralyzing him, after a dispute in April 2014, a Schenectady County jury fo

Thomas Burns shot a man, paralyzing him, after a dispute in April 2014, a Schenectady County jury found Thursday.

The jury deliberated for more than a day and a half before finding Burns guilty of first-degree assault for the shooting and guilty of another assault count in an unrelated case.

Burns faces a maximum of 32 years in state prison at his April sentencing, if given consecutive sentences in the two assaults.

Prosecutor Amy Burock said Thursday she intends to ask for the maximum.

“This is, at the time, a 22-year-old man who will never walk again,” Burock said of shooting victim Mervin Bingham. “He’s never taken another step since Thomas Burns assaulted him.”

“We absolutely think it’s appropriate for the court to impose the maximum sentence,” Burock said.

Burns’ attorney, Frederick Rench, said an appeal is expected.

Burns stood trial for much of the past month for the April 19, 2014, shooting of Bingham near 1685 Van Vranken Ave. and the assault on another man. Prosecutors contended Burns broke a smaller man’s jaw with a punch in December 2013.

The jury found Burns guilty of both crimes.

Plans to appeal

Burns had also faced a second-degree attempted murder count related to Bingham’s shooting, but the jury found him not guilty of that count. The charge carried the same potential sentence as the first-degree assault conviction.

Rench argued after the verdict was read that it didn’t make sense. The jury seemingly found Burns intended to seriously injure Bingham with a single close-range shot to the abdomen, but didn’t intend to kill him.

Judge Michael V. Coccoma denied Rench’s request to have the jury continue deliberating on the issue.

Afterward, Rench said the issue will be used in an appeal. “The verdicts are inconsistent and they will not stand on appeal,” he said.

Burns maintains his innocence, Rench said.

Burns took the stand in his own defense and denied shooting Bingham.

But Bingham, instantly paralyzed by the bullet, testified earlier from his wheelchair that Burns was the man who fired. Bingham had once lived at Burns’ home.

Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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