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Fourth teenager indicted in assault at movie theater

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
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Three teens were sentenced Friday for their roles in the attack of a Niskayuna man inside one of the theaters at Bow Tie Cinema in Schenectady.
Three teens were sentenced Friday for their roles in the attack of a Niskayuna man inside one of the theaters at Bow Tie Cinema in Schenectady.

— A fourth teenager has been indicted in the June movie theater attack that seriously injured a Niskayuna man.

Roeson Cobb, who turned 16 just days before the incident, appeared Wednesday morning in Schenectady County Court before Judge Karen Drago and pleaded not guilty.

Cobb, of 341 Germania Ave., allegedly was involved in an attack at the Bow Tie Cinema downtown that took place just after midnight June 29. Two or three others, age 15 or younger, face charges in juvenile court. The exact number of juveniles involved in the alleged attack was unclear.

Also Wednesday, one of the four charged in adult court, Terrell Bell, 16, of 223 Duane Ave., was released on bail.

Bell appeared in court Wednesday morning seeking bail; Drago set it at $20,000 cash or $30,000 bond. Bell was identified by his attorney as a junior at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School.

Also charged in adult court are Jonas Jeannot, 18, of 1133 Country Club Drive, Niskayuna, and Dashawn Harrison, 16, of Duane Avenue. Jeannot was 17 at the time of the attack. No further adult arrests are expected at this time, prosecutor William Sanderson said Wednesday.

The attack took place at the conclusion of a late showing of “White House Down,” during which the teenagers had been disrupting the show, Sanderson has said.

They eventually turned their attention to a man there with his daughters, Sanderson said. They assaulted him in the theater before they left. One of the man’s daughters also was hit and knocked to the floor as she tried to come to her father’s aid, Sanderson said, and her phone was stolen.

Police responded quickly and arrested Harrison nearby, Sanderson said. The ensuing police investigation led to the others.

About 10 or 15 youths — boys and girls — were in the group, police said. At least eight are believed to have been actively involved in the attack.

During the movie, the group made noise, some ran the aisles and some even banged on garbage cans.

Sanderson has said he is not aware of anyone alerting cinema staff to the disruption, but the father eventually expressed his irritation by snapping his fingers as one of the youths passed in the aisle. Sanderson described the victim as in his 40s and from Niskayuna.

As the movie ended and the lights came up, the youths started to hit him as they left. When he tried to stop them, the group surrounded the man, kicking him and punching him, witnesses said.

As that went on, one of the man’s daughters tried to pull the teens off her father. One of the attackers then struck her, knocking her to the floor, Sanderson said. Also with the victim was a friend of the daughters.

All four suspects have been indicted on felony counts of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault, charges that carry sentences of as much to 25 years in prison.

The man was left with a concussion, broken bones in a hand, tooth damage and torn-up skin on his knees. The first-degree assault, which requires a “serious physical injury,” centers on the lingering effects of the concussion, Sanderson has said.

The first-degree gang assault has the same requirement, but also calls for at least three attackers helping to commit the assault. That charge relates only to the number of alleged attackers and the injuries suffered. It makes no accusations that the assailants are part of a street gang.

Harrison, the only teen caught that night, initially was charged with second-degree robbery, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child, petit larceny and third-degree assault.

The felony robbery count was based on the forcible theft of the cellphone. The assault count then was misdemeanor level because the extent of the victim’s injuries wasn’t known until later, Sanderson said.

With those initial charges, Harrison’s bond was set at $5,000, which he posted in early July. He was to be arraigned on his new indictment Wednesday, but a miscommunication on his attorney’s part pushed that off a week.

Cobb was ordered held without bail Wednesday. He was already being held in Albany County on unrelated drug and stolen property counts, officials said.

Jeannot, who was arraigned Friday, remains held without bail.

Bell appeared in court with his attorney, David Brickman. Family members, including Bell’s father, were in the gallery.

Brickman asked Bell be released to the supervision of the probation department without having to post bail. He noted Bell is a lifelong resident of Schenectady, goes to Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and gets good grades, is involved in sports and holds a part-time fast-food job.

But Sanderson argued the weight of the evidence against Bell is strong.

Drago noted the felonies Bell faces are “very serious” and that he faces the possibility of a lot of time in prison if convicted. But she also noted he is 16, goes to school and has family support.

She then set bond at $30,000, also setting a strict curfew. She noted breaking the curfew could jeopardize Bell’s release.

 
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