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Woman tied to Schenectady homicide accepts plea deal

Woman tied to Schenectady homicide accepts plea deal

The woman accused of starting a fight that led to a man’s shooting death over Labor Day weekend plea

The woman accused of starting a fight that led to a man’s shooting death over Labor Day weekend pleaded guilty to an unrelated weapons charge Tuesday.

Iris Vasquez, 28, of Elmer Avenue, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Schenectady County Court to one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

The guilty plea comes less than a week after a man described as her boyfriend, Gammen Knight, 24, was formally charged with causing the death of 44-year-old Danny Russell.

The weapons count relates to an unrelated shooting July 26 on Becker Street. No one was hit in that incident, but Vasquez was accused of firing toward an occupied porch.

She had faced attempted murder charges in that case. Instead, she is to be sentenced to as little as five years in prison or as much as seven years.

The plea also covers charges she faced related to the Sept. 1 shooting death of Russell on Catherine Street. Vasquez was charged in December with felony hindering prosecution and misdemeanor assault in that case, accused of lying to police about the homicide and assaulting the mother of Russell’s child just before the shooting.

Prosecutors have alleged Vasquez was out looking for Russell and instead found the mother of Russell’s child. Vasquez and another woman then started a fight with her, prosecutor Philip Mueller has said, with the two at one point pepper-spraying the victim.

Shortly after the fight started, Russell came out of a nearby home and attempted to intervene, Mueller has said. Knight is accused of coming out from between two nearby homes and opening fire, then standing over a fallen Russell and continuing to fire.

Mueller has declined to discuss why authorities believe Knight opened fire on Russell. He also declined to discuss why Vasquez was looking for Russell.

Knight faces one count of second-degree murder. He was formally charged last week after being held on unrelated charges since shortly after the shooting. He remains in custody. Vasquez also remains in custody.

Vasquez’ plea was taken by Judge James Murphy. Vasquez is represented by attorney Michael Mansion.

Family members said Russell lived in New York City and was in Schenectady for the weekend to celebrate his niece’s birthday.

The family went to Lake George that day to spend time at the beach, then returned earlier in the evening.

Russell left his brother’s apartment shortly before he was shot.

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