Man convicted of role in Schenectady attack, faces up to 15 years in prison

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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— A city man faces up to 15 years in state prison after his conviction Monday for his role in an attack on a Schenectady street, officials said.

Ashylaun J. Coleman, 25, of McClyman Street, was one of four people originally charged in connection with a Sept. 26 beating and slashing of a man at State and Hulett streets.

Coleman was the only one of the four to take his case to trial. The three others pleaded guilty before trial.

The daylight assault was captured on the county’s street surveillance cameras. City police Detective Lt. Eric Clifford also witnessed part of the attack, broadcasting suspects’ descriptions over the radio and identifying Coleman by name.

The Schenectady County Court jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Coleman guilty of one count each of first-degree attempted assault and first-degree attempted group assault. He had been facing more-serious charges of first-degree assault and group assault.

Tito F. Garcia, 20, of Emmett Street and Joseph A. Hewitt, 21, of Willett Street pleaded guilty just before their trials were to begin. Garcia admitted to second-degree assault and is to receive six years in prison. Hewitt admitted to first-degree attempted group assault and is to get five years.

A fourth suspect, Everrod K. Mais, 17, of Georgetta Dix Boulevard pleaded guilty early on to a misdemeanor for a lesser role in the incident.

None of the three testified at Coleman’s trial. Also not present at the trial was the victim himself. Prosecutors couldn’t locate him and proceeded to trial without him.

Central to the prosecution was the video, which showed the attack from start to end, most of it in plain view.

The victim appeared to see them coming, putting up his fists. Soon, though, he was knocked to the ground and members of the group began stomping and kicking him. One slashed him in the leg, inflicting a deep cut that required 22 stitches to close. The victim also briefly lost consciousness.

Coleman’s attorney, Brian Mercy, argued in his closing Monday morning that the slasher was Hewitt, not his client, though he conceded Coleman kicked the victim on the ground.

Mercy also argued that there was no evidence Coleman knew Hewitt had a knife or intended to use it.

Prosecutor Michael Tiffany argued that Coleman’s intent was clear: to cause serious physical injury by punching and stomping the victim, even as he lay on the ground.

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