Editor's note: This story was corrected at 3:15 p.m. April 12. A previous version included an incorrect first name for Alexander Martuscello.
AMSTERDAM — Three Amsterdam teenagers accused of killing a 23-year-old man in March pleaded not guilty to the charges against them during an arraignment Wednesday morning in Montgomery County Court.
Brothers Raymond Matros, 18, and Anthony Matros, 16, and their friend, Christopher Malave Jr., 19, each entered not-guilty pleas to a 14-count indictment handed up by a Montgomery County jury earlier this month.
Police said that, in the early morning hours of March 9, the trio went to a Glen Avenue address in Amsterdam intent on settling a score. They were armed with a shotgun, and police believe they intended to rob the residence, according to court documents.
Amsterdam Police Chief Greg Culick said in March that Raymond Matros fired a 12-gauge slug through the glass door of 56 Glen Ave. at around 3 a.m. the day of the killing. The slug hit Alexander Martuscello, 23, in the upper chest. Martuscello, who had recently moved to the building, died at the scene.
Police said shortly after the killing that the three Clark Avenue residents and the teens all knew each other, and that one of the teens had gotten into an altercation with one of the residents earlier that week. Investigators did not initially know what the disagreement was about, but Culick said Wednesday that police believe it involved drugs.
“There was an indication that there was a drug ripoff at one point -- that one of the kids in the house had stolen something from [Raymond] Matros,” Culick said.
He clarified that police believe one of the residents, who he did not name, stole marijuana from the elder Matros brother.
He added that police do not think Martuscello was the intended target.
"This is how they carried out their retribution, and from what I'm seeing, the target they got is not the one they intended to get," Culick said.
Culick said police don’t have any information about drug sales happening in the Glen Avenue home or any drug dealing by the Matros brothers and Malave Jr. He added that none of the teens had substantial interactions with law enforcement prior to being arrested for allegedly killing Martuscello.
“We've had little interactions but nothing serious," he said.
Culick said police do not know where the teens obtained the shotgun they allegedly used in the crime.
Anthony Matros and Malave Jr. appeared together in court Wednesday morning, flanked by their attorneys, Mark Sacco and Derrick Hogan, respectively. The two were dressed in orange jumpsuits with waist shackles and remained mostly quiet throughout the proceeding. At one point, Malave Jr. smiled back at someone in the gallery.
Raymond Matros was brought in after the other two, with his attorney, Peter Moschetti, and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. The indictment charges each teen with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted robbery. The document also charges Raymond Matros with third-degree and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The arraignment was presided over by Judge Felix Catena. At the arraignment, McCoski filed as evidence videotaped interviews all three defendants had with police just hours after the killing.
A trial date for all three has been set for Sept. 5, at 9 a.m.