So I have to revise my picture a little bit of the party last June in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood of Schenectady that ended with a 15-year-old boy being shot to death.
The picture I mentally assembled at the time, based on conversations with a couple of the partygoers, was that of a crowd of local teenagers intruded upon by a few older guys from Brooklyn.
Now it turns out that the older guys from Brooklyn — guys in their late 20s and early 30s — were not intruders but were there at the invitation of the hostess of the party to act as security guards. They patted down kids at the door to make sure they weren’t carrying weapons, and they collected a $2 or $3 admission fee to cover the cost of alchohol, marijuana and music, the last of which was provided by a couple of paid disc jockeys.
It is one of those older Brooklyn guys, James M. Wells, 31, who is charged with murder in the death of 15-year-old Eddie Stanley, a basketball player at Schenectady High School.
This new information comes from a grand jury indictment of Wells and from Phil Mueller, chief assistant district attorney of Schenectady County, who is handling the prosecution.
“These kids didn’t know all these guys,” Mueller told me. “They didn’t know enough not to cross them.”
As has been reported, Wells and his companions missed a set of car keys as the party was breaking up, suspected one or more of the teenagers of having stolen them and undertook to search people before letting them leave. In the ensuing confrontation Eddie Stanley was shot five times. He was declared dead shortly afterward at Ellis Hospital.
Wells was picked up a month later in New York City, identified by his street name H.O., and returned to Schenectady, where he has been in jail ever since, awaiting further proceedings.
He allegedly operated a drug house across the street from where the party was held, which I guess constituted his bona fides as a security expert.
Also, Mueller tells me the hostess of the party, 19-year-old Anasia Nesbit, was apparently herself the tenant of the second-floor apartment at 730-732 Bridge St. where the party occurred.
At the time it was unclear to me who occupied the apartment, or the other two floors of the building, since the whole dumpy place stood vacant while police combed it for evidence.
I wondered if some enterprising kids had just temporarily occupied it on their own initiative for party purposes, or if parents might have been involved. But no to both.
It was Anasia Nesbit’s place. She, by the way, was eventually arrested on a felony charge of her own for allegedly having slashed someone with a knife during the final hubbub and is out on bail awaiting her legal fate.
The story does not become any more pleasant as these details emerge, but it does become a little more illuminating as to how life is lived in what we euphemistically call the inner-city.
It’s life in which, at least in some cases, the only adult authority emanates from guys experienced enough to run a drug house, guys shrewd enough to make sure they have guns while others don’t.