Nearly a dozen bullets were fired in an exchange on Close Street one day in October 2011.
One of them grazed a man’s neck. Three others hit one of the alleged gunmen, who would later crash his car attempting to drive himself to the hospital.
A Schenectady County prosecutor told a jury Tuesday that the man hit three times was the main aggressor in the case, that he was trying to kill two others on the street that day.
The man’s defense attorney, however, suggested to the jury that police rushed to judgment, focusing quickly on her client to the exclusion of others on the street that day.
Standing trial is Michael Grafton, 41, of Brooklyn. He faces two counts of second-degree attempted murder and various lesser charges in the Oct. 9, 2011, shootout. Grafton was hit in the chest, torso and leg, but survived.
Prosecutor Peter Willis said Grafton showed up that day at the Close Street home of Rebecca Ferry, looking for a man named Calvin Jones. Ferry realized that Grafton had a gun and informed Jones, who grabbed his own gun. An argument ensued and Grafton opened fire on Jones. He missed, and Jones returned fire with greater accuracy.
“Every single piece of proof in this case will point to Mr. Grafton as the aggressor in this case,” Willis told the jury.
Jones, 25, was also arrested after the incident, originally on a high-level assault count. In September he pleaded guilty to a weapons count in exchange for up to eight years in state prison.
Prosecutors said then that they accepted Jones’ claim of self-defense in firing at Grafton. Self-defense is not a valid defense for illegally possessing a gun in the first place.
The man grazed in the neck — Jones’ brother, Winston Halliburton, 18 — was also charged with a weapons count, to which he pleaded guilty in November.
Ferry was also arrested and charged with perjury. She later pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree perjury in exchange for probation.
Willis acknowledged Ferry’s perjury, but said the perjury was related to failing to tell investigators about Jones’ conduct. Her account of Grafton’s conduct never changed.
Grafton’s attorney Leah Walker-Casey did not go into details about her strategy in her own opening statement, noting that the defense doesn’t need to prove anything.
“But,” she said, “I will tell you there are things that will be proven to you, not by the people, but by the defense in this case” that will lead to a not-guilty verdict.
She said there will be inconsistencies between the various witnesses’ testimony, between their testimony and their prior statements, and between their testimony and the physical evidence.
The trial is before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino. It is expected to last into next week.