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What you need to know for 01/22/2017

Jury finds Schenectady man innocent of murder attempt

Jury finds Schenectady man innocent of murder attempt

A city man accused of trying to kill his girlfriend, choking her to unconsciousness in the process,

A city man accused of trying to kill his girlfriend, choking her to unconsciousness in the process, was acquitted of all charges against him Thursday after a two-day trial, officials said.

Ernest L. Burnett, 42, of Summit Avenue, was found innocent after about five hours of deliberations by a Schenectady County Court jury.

He was represented at trial by attorney Adam Parisi. He could not be reached for comment later.

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham said the case suffered from what many such cases of domestic violence suffer from: a reluctant witness.

“With that type of case, it sometimes brings with it unique sets of circumstances, one of those is sometimes a reluctance on the part of the victim,” she said. “That’s something we encountered in this case.”

Tremante-Pelham said prosecutors believed there was sufficient evidence to go forward to trial. The verdict, though, showed there wasn’t enough to convict.

Burnett was acquitted of all charges, including attempted murder and kidnapping. Had he been convicted, he would have faced up to 25 years in prison on the attempted murder count.

Burnett was arrested in November 2011, accused of kidnapping the woman around 9:30 a.m. Sept. 24, 2011, from Glenwood Boulevard, in what police described as a domestic incident. He was accused of binding her, choking her and holding a box cutter to her throat.

Burnett was also accused of threatening to make her eat acid and kill her, then taking her from her home, placing her in the trunk of his vehicle and driving away, according to court papers filed then.

The alleged victim was ultimately able to get loose, escape and call police, authorities have said. She was treated at Ellis Hospital.

Burnett had been free since February, under probation supervision. He was released after prosecutors missed a deadline to indict him. The case, though, remained active, ending with this week’s trial.

Presiding over the trial was acting Schenectady County Court Judge Erin Gall.

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