The defendant is appealing a judgment made in the County Court of Albany County. The judgment found the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree.
The defendant was fifteen years old at the time of the incident. He armed himself with a gun and along with two other individuals rode his bike into another neighborhood. The group ran into another group of three boys and after a “stare down” the defendant pulled the gun from his pocket. The other group of boys started to run. The defendant fired a shot at them.
A few seconds later another group of boys returned fire, shooting approximately three shots at the defendant’s companions as they ran down First Street. The defendant fled in another direction down Judson Street.
When the defendant reached the intersection, the victim a ten year old girl, was sitting on the front steps of her home. A bullet hit her and caused her death.
The defendant was charged as a juvenile offender with intentional murder in the second degree, depraved indifference murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
The County Court denied his motion to dismiss one or both of the murder charges.
The defendant was convicted by a jury for the depraved indifference murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree charges. He was sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison.
Case Discussion and Decision
The County Court did not error when they allowed both murder counts to be submitted and denied the defendant’s motion to drop one or both of the murder charges. While allowing an individual to be charged with both intentional and depraved indifference murder charges as alternate theories should not be allowed regularly, in this particular case it was allowable.
The defendant could have been found guilty of intentional murder of the victim under a theory of transferred intent or he could have been found to have acted with depraved indifference by shooting a gun on a street that was crowded. For this reason, the court did not make an error by allowing the jury to consider both murder counts.
The defendant further contends that the conviction was based on insufficient evidence. He states that the People failed to prove the element of depraved indifference or that the fatal bullet came from the defendant’s gun.
The Court of Appeals has stated that whenever a gun is fired into a crowd and innocent bystanders are endangered, it is a prime example of depraved indifference. For this reason, the appeal to reverse the judgment against the defendant is denied. The judgment is affirmed as well as the sentence of fifteen years to life.
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