Alexander West denied bail

Judge issues 1-sentence update to attorneys on both sides
Alexander West and his attorney, Cheryl Coleman, listen to the jury's verdict earlier this month.
Alexander West and his attorney, Cheryl Coleman, listen to the jury's verdict earlier this month.

Alexander West, the man convicted earlier this month of manslaughter for causing the death of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue in a boating crash, will remain in jail after his application for bail was denied Thursday by a state judge.

Judge William McCarthy, of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, denied West’s application for bail, which he sought while an appeal of his May 8 conviction is pending. 

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan, who prosecuted the case, said the court clerk notified her and Cheryl Coleman, West’s attorney, of the decision, which read simply, “The application is denied.”

West, 25, of Lake George, was convicted following a three-week trial on second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault charges, with the latter felony resulting from serious injuries he caused to Charlotte’s mother, Courtney McCue, in the July 25 motorboat crash on Lake George. The McCue family, of Carlsbad, Calif., was in town visiting Charlotte’s grandparents at the time.

The jury also found West guilty of criminally negligent homicide, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, boating while ability impaired by alcohol, reckless operation of a vessel and criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

He’ll face up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 5. 

In appealing the jury’s decision and seeking bail on West’s behalf, Coleman said the trial was “replete with reversible errors,” including that the first juror sworn was later dismissed from the jury based on allegations of rape reported to police on the first day of jury selection.  Coleman opposed the dismissal because the juror, who said he had never been accused of a crime, knew nothing of the accusation at the time he was questioned. 

Coleman also claimed there was a lack of sufficient evidence that West caused the crash and Charlotte’s death and that he was drunk at the time. She said there was no proof that he exceeded the lake’s 25 mph nighttime speed limit and “no proof he drank after a photo was taken of him with a beer shortly before 2:30 p.m.”

Coleman also said Hogan “consciously cultivated the emotions of a distraught victim’s family in front of the jury.” 

And she claimed her witness, Stanley Los, who has degrees in physics and math and led the FBI’s boating division for many years, was unfairly denied boating-expert status because, “in the court’s words, ‘He’s not an accident reconstruction expert.’” That prevented him from testifying about the dynamics of the crash, Coleman wrote. 

In opposing Coleman’s motion, Assistant District Attorney Emilee Davenport wrote, “Although several witnesses on shore heard screaming coming from the Knarr boat, the defendant fled, did not report what he had done and secreted himself from law enforcement until approximately 8:51 a.m. on July 26, 2016. The defendant had spent the afternoon at Log Bay Day, a yearly party on Lake George. Several witnesses observed him drinking alcohol, smoking ‘dabs’ of concentrated cannabis, and snorting cocaine in the hours prior to driving over the Knarr boat. The police recovered cocaine from the defendant’s boat after he surrendered himself, and a blood analysis confirmed that several hours following the crash, he had marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy in his system.”

Prosecutors chose to withdraw the blood evidence and not use it at trial because the warrant to obtain the samples was not in line with the technical requirements of criminal procedural law. 

West was acquitted of four charges, which all required proof of drug impairment: vehicular manslaughter, boating while impaired by drugs and two counts of vehicular assault. 

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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