Man in Schenectady shootout cleared of most-serious charges, convicted of others
SCHENECTADY A Brooklyn man faces up to 15 years in state prison after convictions Monday on attempted assault and weapons charges related to a 2011 shootout on Close Street.
The convictions against 41-year-old Michael Grafton came as part of a mixed verdict, as he stood trial on a host of charges related to accusations he attempted to kill two men on the street that day, Winston Halliburton and Calvin Jones.
The jury acquitted him of the attempted murder of Halliburton and deadlocked on whether he attempted to murder Jones.
“It was a well-thought-out verdict,” prosecutor Peter Willis said. “They did their jobs. They obviously had some trouble deciding internally what the intentions of the defendant were.”
Willis must now decide whether to retry Grafton on the count on which the jury deadlocked.
Because of the potential retrial, Grafton’s defense attorney, Leah Walker-Casey, declined to comment on the verdict Monday.
Grafton was accused of being the initial aggressor in a shootout on Close Street on Oct. 9, 2011.
Police said his shots grazed Halliburton in the neck but missed Jones.
Grafton himself was more seriously wounded, hit twice in the torso and once in the leg as Jones returned fire, prosecutors have said. Grafton fled the scene in his vehicle and crashed as he tried to get himself to the hospital.
Willis alleged in opening statements that Grafton showed up that day at the Close Street home of Rebecca Ferry, looking for a man named Calvin Jones. Ferry realized that Grafton had a gun and informed Jones, who grabbed his own gun. An argument ensued and Grafton opened fire on Jones. He missed, and Jones returned fire with greater accuracy.
Jones, 25, was also arrested after the incident, originally on a high-level assault count. In September he pleaded guilty to a weapons count in exchange for up to eight years in state prison. His plea came as prosecutors accepted Jones’ claim of self-defense.
The man grazed in the neck — Jones’ 18-year-old brother, Halliburton — was also charged with a weapons count, to which he pleaded guilty in November.
Willis argued that everything pointed to Grafton as the aggressor, and aggressors can’t claim self-defense.
Walker-Casey suggested to the jury in her opening that the police rushed to judgment, focusing on her client to the exclusion of others on the street that day.
Grafton was convicted of first-degree attempted assault and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Each conviction carries a maximum of 15 years in state prison.
He is to be sentenced in April.