Fourth person charged in Jennifer Ostrander homicide in Schenectady; 17-year-old suspect identified

Family and friends gather at the shooting scene in August; Jennifer Ostrander (inset) Credit: File and Provided

Family and friends gather at the shooting scene in August; Jennifer Ostrander (inset) Credit: File and Provided

SCHENECTADY – A fourth person has been charged in connection with the Aug. 2 fatal shooting of Jennifer Ostrander in Schenectady.

A previously unidentified 17-year-old charged in the shooting has also now been identified.

Tito Garcia, 28, of Emmett Street, was taken into custody last week on a new indictment in the case charging him with second-degree murder and other counts in Ostrander’s death.

He was arraigned Monday.

The same indictment covers the three other people previously charged in Ostrander’s death: Joel Johnson, Marchello Rizzo and Caprist McBrown. They were arraigned on the indictment previously. All have pleaded not guilty and are being held.

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney confirmed Wednesday that McBrown is the previously unidentified 17-year-old charged in the case. McBrown is being prosecuted in the youth part of adult court.

All four face potential maximum terms of 25 years to life if convicted of the murder counts against them, officials said.

Ostrander, 31, was killed the evening of Aug. 2 after being shot in the head while relaxing on the porch of her Sixth Avenue home in the city’s Mont Pleasant neighborhood with at least two other people. Investigators concluded early that she was a random victim of the shooting that targeted others.

She was remembered in the days after the shooting as a big-hearted mother who helped others in the community.

Police arrested two Middletown residents, Johnson, 21, and the 17-year-old, McBrown, the day after the shooting. Rizzo was arrested in September.

Police took Garcia into custody last Monday in Schenectady.

The four are accused of working together that evening to go out and find rivals and shoot at them, prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham said. She described the shooting as gang-related.

“They were out looking for people and found certain people at that location and decided that that would be the location they would strike,” Tremante-Pelham said.

“All evidence points to her being an unintended victim,” Tremante-Pelham said of Ostrander.

All four face counts of second-degree murder and second-degree conspiracy.

The conspiracy count describes the alleged acts of those charged as “providing guns to the shooters, driving to the scene, forming a caravan of cars proceeding to the scene providing protection to all of the members of the caravan, shooting,” and killing Ostrander.

Though all four are accused of working together in the conspiracy that ended in Ostrander’s death, Carney said investigators have evidence that would support connecting the fatal shot to a specific shooter. He declined to elaborate.

The four also face charges of first-degree reckless endangerment related to residents of the address, specifically a child. Carney confirmed the child to be Ostrander’s.

The four faces two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, handguns.

They also face an evidence tampering count accusing them of disposing of the guns. McBrown faces an additional evidence tampering count related to a t-shirt.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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