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What you need to know for 07/27/2017

Schenectady hit and run suspect indicted again

Schenectady hit and run suspect indicted again

Top counts against the man held in the hit-and-run death of a college student have been restored wit

Top counts against the man held in the hit-and-run death of a college student have been restored with a new indictment.

Anthony J. Gallo, 34, had won a temporary reprieve earlier this month, when a judge dismissed the top count against him, aggravated vehicular homicide, along with two other felonies.

The ruling left him facing a charge of second-degree manslaughter and allowed prosecutors to resubmit the case to the grand jury. Prosecutors did so, with the new indictment handed up Wednesday.

Prosecutor Brian Gray said later that he was fairly confident that the new indictment will withstand judicial scrutiny and the case will be able to go forward. Gallo’s attorney, Paul Callahan, could not be reached for comment.

Gallo, 34, is accused of fatally striking 19-year-old Cassandra Boone with a car on Nov. 16 at Erie Boulevard and State Street as she attempted to cross Erie. Police say he fled and wasn’t arrested until the next day.

In her May 3 ruling on the initial indictment, Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago said that the evidence that Gallo was impaired by drugs consisted of witness statements and a lab report corroborating those statements. But she found that the witness testimony lacked sufficient foundation for the grand jury to conclude drug use. The judge also found no evidence to show the date and time that Gallo’s blood was drawn.

Included in the judge’s ruling, though, was a reference to “witness testimony of [Gallo‘s] drug use.” Prosecutors had not previously made reference publicly to such testimony, only to toxicology tests.

Gray declined to discuss how prosecutors answered the judge’s concerns in the new indictment.

Callahan has argued that there is a fundamental flaw in the drug-related arguments — that there was no testing done immediately after the crash or even in the hours afterward. Callahan has said he took the judge’s ruling as saying that there needs to be more evidence to say someone was impaired by drugs at the time of an accident.

Restored in the new indictment were the charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, all felonies, as well as misdemeanor driving while ability impaired by drugs.

Remaining from the previous indictment are charges of second-degree manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident without reporting, both felonies.

At the time of the accident, Gallo had 10 suspensions on his driving record, police have said. The state Department of Motor Vehicles’ public record for him includes suspensions from Rotterdam, Niskayuna, Albany and Greenwich for either failing to answer a summons or failing to pay fines.

Boone was described as a woman with a kind heart, someone who devoted her time to classes at Schenectady County Community College and volunteered at a local nursery school. She also had dreams of owning her own day care center.

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