The man accused of firing at least one shot inside a crowded Crossgates Mall last month is now facing an attempted murder charge.
Tasheem Maeweather appeared Monday in Albany County Court for his arraignment on the attempted murder charge and charges of first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment, all felonies.
Maeweather, who pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday, has been in custody since his arrest two days after the Nov. 12 shooting near the Apple store that sent weekend shoppers fleeing and put the mall in lockdown for several hours.
No one was hurt and police recovered a bullet from the back of an escalator.
Maeweather, 20, of North Pearl Street in Albany, appeared with his attorney, Lee Kindlon. Kindlon afterward repeated the defense’s contention that Maeweather was at the mall that day but had no gun.
Kindlon also said mall surveillance footage shows Maeweather fleeing like everyone else, but does not show who fired a gun.
An off-duty state trooper testified at a prior proceeding that he saw the shooting, as well as the argument that preceded it, and he identified Maeweather as the shooter.
Monday’s indictment marks an increase in charges since Maeweather’s initial arrest, when he faced the weapons and endangerment counts.
If convicted of the attempted murder count, Maeweather would face up to 25 years in state prison.
Monday’s court appearance lasted only minutes. Kindlon entered Maeweather’s not guilty plea and reserved the defense’s right to make an application for bail later.
Judge Roger D. McDonough asked basic questions related to that possible future bail application, including whether Maeweather worked or attended school. Maeweather said he did neither. He lived with his mother and siblings.
Assistant District Attorney Steven Sharp, when asked by the judge about possible plea offers in the case, said his office does not plan to make any such offers.
In court, Kindlon said the defense would be interested in a possible plea conference, but Kindlon later reiterated that his client wouldn’t accept one because his client did nothing wrong.
Kindlon also cited what he said are multiple issues in the prosecution’s case that will show themselves going forward.
“I think that the people are going to have some problems,” Kindlon said. “So if they don’t want to extend an offer, fine. We wouldn’t take an offer at this time.”
Kindlon questioned the identification of his client as the shooter and even that his client had access to a gun.
At the time of the Crossgates shooting, Kindlon noted, Maeweather remained on probation related to a prior Schenectady-based drug conviction. As part of that probation, handled by Albany County, Maeweather wore a GPS monitor and underwent repeated searches.
“Somehow, either Albany County Probation isn’t doing their job — and I know that’s not true — or Tasheem is just a young kid who never possessed a handgun.
“One of those two things is true,” Kindlon added. “I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.”
Prosecutors indicated in court that Maeweather gave some kind of a statement to police after his arrest. Kindlon said his client spoke of being at the mall that day, something confirmed by the GPS, but denied any wrongdoing.
Maeweather, Kindlon said, was at the mall shopping for sneakers. Once there, Kindlon said, someone threw a punch at Maeweather.
“What happens after that, no one seems to really be able to figure out,” Kindlon said.