Saratoga Springs man pleads to a lesser charge in 2009 assault
SARATOGA SPRINGS A month after an appeals court ordered a new trial for a Saratoga Springs man who shot another man in the leg in 2009 during a drug-fueled argument, the defendant has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Frederick W. Clark Jr., 49, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree assault and is expected to get two years in state prison and 11⁄2 years of post-release supervision when he is sentenced Sept. 15.
He was convicted at trial in December 2010 of first-degree assault and two lesser charges and sentenced to seven years in state prison.
But Clark won an appeal last month before the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, which ruled that Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano erred during the trial by reading back to the jury only part of the victim’s testimony when they requested it and by telling jurors only part of the law relating to Clark’s charges.
Because of the mistakes, Clark was re-indicted on the same charges and granted a new trial.
He opted to plead to a lesser charge instead.
Clark was accused of shooting Jersen Vargas of Schenectady in the leg with a deer rifle in December 2009 after Vargas and several other people had been at Clark’s house doing drugs, including crack cocaine, for several hours.
At some point, the two got into a dispute about whether Vargas and his girlfriend could spend the night there and do some laundry in exchange for providing Clark with drugs.
The Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue another trial, because finding the witnesses could be difficult and because Vargas is serving a state prison sentence for a felony drug sale conviction, District Attorney James A. Murphy III said in a statement.