DA: Murder conviction in Christmas 2019 Schenectady car death; Defendant killed man over wallet, DA argued

Ishwarnand Goberdhan - Credit: Schenectady Police Department

Ishwarnand Goberdhan - Credit: Schenectady Police Department

SCHENECTADY – A city resident intentionally struck and killed a man over a stolen wallet Christmas morning 2019, a Schenectady County jury found Monday, prosecutors said.

The jury convicted Ishwarnand Goberdhan, 37, of Schenectady, who was found guilty of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a fatal accident without reporting.

Goberdhan now faces up to 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing later.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Goberdhan drove after Alejandro Melendez down State Street early Christmas morning in 2019 after Melendez stole Goberdhan’s wallet.

Goberdhan, however, soon cornered Melendez in a parking lot, then intentionally struck and drove over the 51-year-old man multiple times, eventually killing him, prosecutor John Carson said during opening statements last month.

Goberdhan’s defense pushed back on the top counts during opening statements, as his attorney Brian Mercy told the courtroom that the jury will likely find his client guilty of leaving the scene without reporting a fatal accident.

The evidence, however, amounted to nothing more than a tragic accident and does not meet the standard needed for a murder or manslaughter conviction, Mercy told the jury then.

Melendez’s body was discovered in the parking lot of Chas G. Burch Supply Co. on State Street shortly after 8 a.m. Dec. 25, 2019 after someone called 911 reporting they had discovered his body.

An autopsy determined that Melendez died from blunt force trauma.

Police narrowed in on Goberdhan with the help of nearby security cameras that captured most of the incident, and a wide-ranging search for vehicles with front-end damage that matched the description of the SUV involved, Carson said in opening statements.

A state police forensic team was then able to piece together the broken bits of the vehicle recovered near Melendez’s body and determined they belonged to the vehicle Goberdhan was driving that night, Carson said.

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham Monday credited the video, as well as the testimony of pathologist Dr. Michael Sikirica, with helping the jury understand what happened.

Goberdhan hit Melendez three times, running him over the final time, Tremante-Pelham said. The final time happened out of the view of the camera, but Sikirica’s testimony on the nature of Melendez’ injuries conveyed what happened, she said.

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney praised the work of the two prosecutors. Carney noted the defense was that Goberdhan didn’t see, hear or feel the impact.

“Our prosecutors, Ms. Tremante and Mr. Carson, did an excellent job proving to the satisfaction of this jury, that his actions in hitting Mr. Melendez three times, and then running over him twice, speak louder than his words and show that his intent was to cause his death,” Carney said.

Goberdhan’s attorney, Mercy, could not immediately be reached Monday evening.

The jury deliberated for part of Thursday and all of Monday, before delivering its verdict before 5 p.m. Monday. The jury did not deliberate Friday due to an illness, Tremante-Pelham said.

The trial began Feb. 24. Goberdhan is to be sentenced in April.

Categories: News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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