Defendants take stand in CDTA bus brawl trial

April 24, 2017 06:56 PM

ALBANY - The trial of two former UAlbany students is coming to an end. Both sides rested their cases on Monday. Closing arguments will be heard Tuesday.

Up until the decision needed to be made, no one knew for sure if Ariel Agudio or Asha Burwell would take the witness stand. However, there is no question those are the two women the jury wanted to hear from. There’s also no question those are the two women the jury needed to hear from in order to counter the testimony of 34 prosecution witnesses called over the course of the one-week trial.

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Agudio and Burwell are charged with attempted assault, harassment and filing a false police report.

To prove their innocence, each defendant called one witness, but then took the stand in their own defense.

First was Agudio, who under direct questioning explained: "Under her breath, I heard her say ‘ratchet b----es.’ In certain contexts, it would have been inappropriate." "In that connotation, I felt she only said it because we were black. I felt if we were white she wouldn’t have said it."

Agudio went on to say: "I've never been in a fight in my life. It was mindboggling. I was embarrassed with all my hair ripped out in public. If I didn't laugh, I would have cried. It was humiliating."

When her defense attorney, Mark Mishler, asked if she intended to make false statements, Agudio replied: "No, I just wanted them to know what happened. Whether or not the 'N' word was used, I believe it was because my friend told me it was and to me that's racial."

Testifying second, Burwell said: "They were ripping her hair out. It was flying everywhere and everyone was laughing about it."

"Someone said, 'Take that b---h!' [Treating it like] it was comical. It was a game to see if they could pull out every piece of her hair."

"I heard someone say the 'N' word. I heard it twice from a male voice."

The prosecution took one week for their case. The defense took one day. Closing arguments are expected on Tuesday, then the judge will charge the jury.


WNYT Staff

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