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What you need to know for 09/22/2017

Man gets 10 years for attack on ex-girlfriend

Man gets 10 years for attack on ex-girlfriend

A city man with what prosecutors say is a history of domestic violence was sent to prison Wednesday

A city man with what prosecutors say is a history of domestic violence was sent to prison Wednesday for 10 years in a case in which his victim never testified.

A Schenectady County Court jury found that Latroy Womack, 29, formerly of Willett Street, illegally entered his ex-girlfriend’s residence and attacked her.

Womack was convicted of second-degree burglary, two counts of criminal contempt and one count of third-degree assault. Prosecutor Jessica Lorusso won the conviction even though the victim failed to show up for the trial. Prosecutors subpoenaed her earlier in June, then later got a material witness warrant when she failed to show. But they couldn’t find her.

Without the woman to testify, Lorusso turned to other evidence, including videotaped statements Womack made in a police car after his arrest, medical records, photos and a 911 call.

He had faced up to 15 years in state prison. Lorusso had asked for 12 years; Womack’s attorney, John Della Ratta, asked for the minimum term allowed.

Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino ultimately sentenced Womack to 10 years.

Womack was found to have illegally entered the woman’s Willett Street residence on Oct. 22, 2012, beat her and bit her abdomen. She was six months pregnant at the time, Lorusso said.

Womack became enraged after seeing a cable installer at the house, questioning where the victim got the money for cable service, Lorusso said. He entered through the front door, which was unlocked for the installer, and attacked the woman.

Lorusso said Womack had a long history of physically abusing women, and she was able to use some of that history at trial to rebut defense contentions that somebody else attacked the victim in this case.

Womack fled after the attack but returned about 90 minutes later, and police arrested him.

Della Ratta argued that Womack’s conviction had more to do with his prior bad acts than the crime itself.

His client didn’t have the opportunity to face his accuser, Della Ratta argued. That was made worse by entering in her 911 call as evidence, he said. The defense couldn’t confront her about her statements on the call, including whether she actually identified Womack or somebody else.

“All I ask of you is not to let this snowball continue to get bigger and bigger,” Della Ratta said in asking for the minimum sentence.

In his own comments to the court, Womack echoed the statements of his attorney. He also said this was a crime he didn’t commit. “I didn’t get a chance to face my accuser, not one time,” he told Giardino.

Lorusso cited the prior allegations of domestic violence, reaching back more than five years with five different women. Some resulted in convictions and some didn’t.

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