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Assault, weapons convictions in Schenectady shooting

Assault, weapons convictions in Schenectady shooting

Jury sent back to deliberation by judge after first, contradictory verdict
Assault, weapons convictions in Schenectady shooting
Karim Smith, 33.

SCHENECTADY -- A man accused of attempted murder in connection with a shooting last summer in Mont Pleasant was convicted Wednesday on weapons and assault charges, the man's attorney said.

The jury, however, found the man not guilty of attempted murder.

Karim Smith, 33, was accused of using a .45-caliber handgun to shoot into a crowd in front of the now-closed Chubby's Pizza on Crane Street on Aug. 14. One shot struck a man in the leg.

Both Smith and the victim fled the scene. Police found the victim later at a home on Eastern Avenue and arrested Smith later that afternoon.

Smith faced attempted murder, first-degree assault, weapons and reckless endangerment counts during his more-than two-week trial.

Smith's defense attorney, Michael Horan, argued at trial that the victim and others "blindsided," "sucker punched" and beat Smith up as he left the store that afternoon, Horan said.

Video showed Smith with a gun and firing a single shot, Horan said, but Horan also argued Smith had been dazed by the assault.

The jury convicted Smith of one count of second-degree assault, acquitting him of intentional assault and the more-serious first-degree assault, Horan said.

"There's no question he had a firearm and he shouldn't have had it, but he didn't intend to kill anybody or hurt anybody," Horan said. "He fired one shot and everybody took off."

Amy Burock prosecuted the case. She couldn't be reached for comment after the verdict.

A man was accused of helping Smith get away after the shooting. The state of that man's case was unclear Wednesday evening.

Smith is to be sentenced in August. He faces up to 15 years on the weapons counts and up to 7 years on the assault count. The sentences could run consecutively.

The city shut down Chubby's in November for code violations. It had been called a magnet for crime in recent years, and officials announced a plan in March to build a library on the site.

Wednesday's verdict was also notable in that the jury came back with its verdict and read it in open court, but an issue led Judge Michael V. Coccoma to have them resume deliberations, Horan said.

The jury originally found Smith guilty of reckless assault and attempted intentional assault. Defendants in such cases can't be convicted of both a reckless and an intentional act, so Coccoma ordered them to resume deliberations. The jury then returned late in the afternoon, keeping the reckless assault conviction and acquitting on the attempted intentional assault count, Horan said.

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