'Santa Claus' takes stand in Crossgates Mall shooting trial

May 02, 2017 06:44 PM

ALBANY - Testimony is underway in the trial of accused Crossgates Mall shooter, Taesheem Maeweather. It began with an unusual witness -- Santa Claus.

We know that 41 names are on the prosecution’s witness list. Sixteen of those witnesses testified on the first day.

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While there was plenty of scientific evidence introduced, there were also many witnesses called to the stand who were describing the horror and the chaos that erupted on that day in the mall last November. One of those people happens to have one of the most famous names in the world.

Despite his appearance, Ernest Remmhack isn’t really Santa Claus, but for the purposes of this trial he is. Remmhack was portraying Santa at Crossgates Mall last November 12, when much more than clatter erupted. He testified:

"I heard a loud noise that sounded like two gun shots and I saw a lot of frightened people running. I did not see who the shooter was. I did not see a weapon."

That was a recurring testimony from everyone called to the witness stand. No one saw the shooter, no one saw the gun and no one, at least not yet, has been able to place Tasheem Maeweather at the scene.

Maeweather, 21, acknowledged he was at the mall the day of the shooting with his two sisters, to buy a pair of sneakers.

On a Guilderland Police interrogation video shown to the jury, Investigator Charles Tanner says to Maeweather:

"I have reason to believe you're not telling me the truth. I have an off-duty trooper who puts you at the scene. Why won't you tell me what really happened?"

Maeweather responded:

"I didn't shoot nobody!"

State Police Forensic Scientist Andrea Lester testified that a slug found at the crime scene was consistent with a .38 class caliber weapon.

Another state police forensics expert testified he found many droplets of blood at the scene, establishing that there was likely at least one gunshot victim, although no one has been identified as that victim.

Five employees of the Apple Store, near where the shooting took place, were also on the witness stand. Among them, Elise VanAllen, who testified:

"I pondered if it was an act of terrorism or another mall shooting. I was hoping I'd get out in one piece. I was thinking up until that point how grateful I was for my life."

Testimony resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Trust NewsChannel 13 to bring you coverage on-air and online.


WNYT Staff

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