An ex-convict has been charged in connection with the murder of two men over the July 4th weekend, according to local sources. Police in New York arrested the 28-year-old man at his parole office on July 22. He is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, manslaughter and attempted murder. He is still being held without bail in advance of an Aug. 24 court date. There is no word as to whether he has retained criminal defense counsel.
Surveillance footage taken from a building in Claremont showed two men, both rappers aged 22 and 27 respectively, along with a third man, speaking in a hallway of the apartment building. The footage then appears to show the accused man and a second accomplice appear in the stairwell, opening fire with handguns on the three men who were trapped at the end of the hallway. One man was hit in the head, neck and upper body, while the second was hit in the upper body, leg and arm. Both men were pronounced dead, while the third man was struck in the arm and survived the attack.
Police believe the shooting may have been a reprisal against one of the victims, who was himself believed to be part of a shooting several hours earlier. Several of the victims are believed to be a part of the “Sev-O” gang, a notoriously violent offshoot of the Bloods. The suspected man is being held without bail, and police are still seeking the accomplice.
An attempted murder charge is a serious one in the state of New York, where the penalties for such a crime can include extended jail time. However, the burden of proof rests on prosecutors to provide compelling evidence that the man was indeed the person seen on the surveillance tapes. His criminal defense counsel will review the tapes, as well as any other evidence, as part of building a defense against the charges.