An Albany man is guilty in the pistol-whipping death of a city man a year ago, a Schenectady County jury found today.
The jury had the case for three full days before finding 24-year-old Carlson Nunes guilty of second-degree murder and other charges. He faces up to 25 years to life in state prison at his April sentencing.
The jury found Nunes killed 26-year-old Carlos Figueroa late on Feb. 16, 2015 on Paige Street as part of a robbery gone bad.
Figueroa’s father, Herman Figueroa, who attended the entire trial, said later that the guilty verdict lifted “a million pounds” off his shoulders.
“It was the best thing ever,” Figueroa said. “Justice was served for my son.”
After the jury foreperson read the guilty verdict, according to individuals present, Nunes wept.
Prosecutors contended two groups, with Nunes and Figueroa on opposing sides, arrived that night for a supposed marijuana deal.
Neither side, however, intended to go through with it — Figueroa’s side didn’t have the marijuana; Nunes’ side didn’t have the money.
Instead, they each were intending to steal from the other. Prosecutors contended Nunes brought a gun; Figueroa’s side just brought a fake bag of marijuana.
As Figueroa’s side walked away, Nunes ran from an alley armed with a gun. Nunes reached for the bag of marijuana, realized it was fake, then hit Figueroa in the side of the face with the gun. The gun went off, with the bullet hitting Figueroa in the neck, killing him.
The trial saw multiple people testifying about the same events from different perspectives, something that appeared to slow deliberations.
“It was a very complicated case,” said prosecutor Brian Gray of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, “but when it boils down, one side brought a gun to a robbery, other side brought a plastic bag.”
Others on Nunes’ side initially faced murder counts, but prosecutors proceeded with lesser charges after concluding only Nunes caused Figueroa’s death. Only the case against Nunes’ brother, Christopher Nunes, 23, of Troy, remains pending. He faces attempted robbery and related perjury charges.
Attorney Cheryl Coleman represented Nunes. She could not be reached later for comment.
Nunes took the stand in his own defense, admitting to being there and face-to-face with Figueroa, but said Figueroa introduced the gun. He claimed a struggle ensued, he gained control of the gun but it went off accidentally.
Gray said all the other testimony, including from uninvolved neighbors who witnessed the shooting, had Nunes introducing the gun.
Nunes’ mother and grandmother also attended the entire trial. His mother, Tanyika Mallory, later questioned the other testimony and repeated her son’s account that he was defending himself.
She said an appeal is expected. “We’re not going to stop,” she said.
Nunes is the father of one. Figueroa was the father of two.
Figueroa’s daughters are now ages 4 and 6. Herman Figueroa said they’re doing OK.
“They miss their daddy, but they understand that he’s in heaven,” Figueroa said.