At least a dozen students take the stand in bus brawl trial

April 21, 2017 06:53 PM

ALBANY - The trial continues for two UAlbany students, Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell, who said they were assaulted by a group of white students on a CDTA bus in January 2016. They claimed it was a racially-motivated attack. Prosecutors say they lied.

One of the victims of their alleged assault, Mary Glisson, was on the stand Friday. At the time, she was a student at Hudson Valley Community College and she walked off the bus on that fateful night with a black eye, scrapes and abrasions and a whiplash she says forced her to wear a neck brace for a couple of months afterwards.

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She was one of at least a dozen college students to take the witness stand on Friday. Of course that begs the question, how many bus passengers does it take to convince a jury whether or not a crime is committed.

To get to the bottom of what happened on board that fateful CDTA bus 14 months ago, the prosecution paraded bus passengers on and off the witness stand all day. All of them were college students and many of them were admitting they were drinking the night of the event. Of course anyone who was, was underage.

UAlbany student Russell Norowitz testified, "I remember distinctly that the group of girls not singing made the first physical contact. I’m sure there was some name calling. I just can’t remember who said what."

Then, Mark Pronoboft, another UAlbany student, said, "There was an argument. I didn’t want to stick my nose where it didn’t belong, but I felt I had to intervene so it wouldn’t escalate. I heard no racial slurs."

Philip Gileta played the role of a pacifist as well. He said, "I put my hands up to indicate I didn’t want to be any part of the violence. I heard terms like whale, slut and fat being tossed around."

If not for Glisson, the incident may have never happened. "I started singing," she recalled. "I noticed a group of girls getting annoyed. They offered me a sandwich to shut up. I heard white ignorant bitch and a lot of yelling and screaming. I couldn’t see who was hitting us. I also heard somebody say, ‘Don’t be ignorant, get a job!’"

Just as week 1 of testimony was wrapping up around 5 p.m., it ended rather abruptly. Just as a juror was getting ready to watch a NewsChannel 13 version of the rally that occurred on campus in the aftermath of that bus ride, the defense attorneys objected and so the jurors did not get to see that NewsChannel 13 story -- at least not yet. That may occur on Monday.

You can trust NewsChannel 13 to keep covering this trial. We'll have updates Monday on and our newscasts.


WNYT Staff

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