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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Schenectady teen faces upgraded charges in theater attack

Schenectady teen faces upgraded charges in theater attack

The first teenager arrested in connection with the June movie theater attack was arraigned on the ne

The first teenager arrested in connection with the June movie theater attack was arraigned on the new, higher-level charges Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.

The teen’s bail was also increased based on the new charges.

Dashawn Harrison, 16, of Duane Avenue, was originally arrested minutes after the early June 29 attack at the Bow Tie Cinema downtown. He was charged then with a single felony robbery count, along with misdemeanor assault and endangering counts. Based on those charges, his bail was set then at $5,000 bond, which his family posted.

A Schenectady County grand jury recently increased the charges to first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. Three others were also indicted and face the same charges in adult court. Two or three more face charges as juveniles.

Harrison’s attorney, Lauren Mack, asked Wednesday that Harrison remain free on the original $5,000 bond. She argued that he is in the 11th grade, doing well in school and has family support. He also has no criminal history, even as a juvenile, she said.

He has stayed out of trouble in the three months since his initial release, Mack said. His mother and grandmother were in court.

Prosecutor Ed Moynihan countered, asking Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago to balance those remarks with the seriousness of the charges. He asked for $50,000 bail.

Drago concluded that the original bail was too low for the new, more-serious charges. She set bail at $15,000 cash or $20,000 bond.

Outside court, Harrison’s grandmother, Yvette Williams, reiterated that her grandson denies involvement.

“My grandson didn’t touch that man or his daughter,” she said.

Harrison, along with Roeson Cobb, 16, of Germania Avenue, Terrell Bell, 16, of Duane Avenue, and Jonas Jeannot, 18, of Niskayuna, all face the high-level assault counts.

Bell’s bail was set last week at $20,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

The attack took place, authorities have said, at the conclusion of a late showing of “White House Down,” during which the teenagers had been disrupting the show, prosecutors have said.

They eventually turned their attention to a man there with his daughters, according to prosecutors, and the teens assaulted him in the theater before they left. One of the man’s daughters also was hit and knocked to the floor as she tried to come to her father’s aid, officials said, and her phone was stolen.

Police responded quickly and arrested Harrison nearby, officials have said. The ensuing investigation led to the others.

About 10 or 15 youths — boys and girls — were in the group, police said. At least eight are believed to have been actively involved in the attack.

The man was left with a concussion, broken bones in a hand, tooth damage and torn-up skin on his knees. The first-degree assault charge, which requires a “serious physical injury,” centers on the lingering effects of the concussion.

The first-degree gang assault charge has the same requirement but also calls for at least three attackers helping to commit the assault. That charge relates only to the number of alleged attackers and the injuries suffered. It makes no accusations that the assailants are part of a street gang.

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