A man who held another person down while others slashed his face in retaliation for stealing marijuana was sentenced to 17 years in prison Thursday in Schenectady County Court.
Rupert Andrews, 27, formerly of Duane Avenue was convicted in July of first-degree gang assault for his participation in an assault Sept. 7, 2011, on Kelton Avenue, near Quin’s Deli.
Prosecutor Peter Willis argued for at least a 20-year prison sentence, saying Andrews has spent much of his adult life in trouble with the law. He said Andrews chased the victim down because he claimed the man had stolen a couple of bags of marijuana worth roughly $20. Andrews then held the person down as another person slashed him. A third person pointed a gun at the victim and fired multiple shots while the victim fled.
The victim suffered a 10-centimeter gash that extended from behind his left ear, through the ear and continuing to his nose. The wound required numerous stitches to close.
“There’s nothing in his behavior that suggests that if [Andrews] is released from prison, he would lead a law-abiding life,” Willis said.
Defense attorney Mark Gaylord told the court that Andrews was raised in foster care and added that his client did not possess a weapon in this case, but is facing more prison time than the person who had the razor. That man, Jerod Hemingway of Albany Street, pleaded guilty and got five years in prison.
Another man allegedly involved in the attack, Clarence Stanford of Emmett Street, was acquitted of all charges because of the victim’s inability to identify him during testimony.
Gaylord said his client was the victim of an attack earlier in the day. He preferred to fight with his fists, but the situation got out of hand.
“Other people intervened, and it turned into something more than that,” he said.
Andrews pleaded for a lighter sentence.
“I ask for the court’s mercy, sir. I’m not a violent dude. I’m a father of two kids. I worked,” he said. “That day was never supposed to happen like that. The only thing I was trying to do is retrieve my belongings. I wasn’t trying to hurt that man.”
Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Frank P. Milano said he believes Andrews was genuinely remorseful, but said it was a violent attack that could have resulted in the victim’s death.
“He’s been maimed for life,” he said.
Gaylord said he planned to appeal.