Murder charge tossed for activist charged in deadly Cohoes shooting
A judge has dismissed a murder charge against an anti-violence activist indicted in a Cohoes shooting, on the grounds there was insufficient evidence to support the indictment.
Dontie Mitchell was indicted for his alleged role in a gunfight in Cohoes in August that killed Shieer Leggett. Mitchell was facing charges of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of reckless endangerment.
Albany County Court Judge Andra Ackerman found that the evidence before the grand jury was insufficient to prove that Mitchell and a co-defendant engaged in a common effort or acted together to cause Leggett’s death.
The incident happened on Aug. 11 at 125 Main St. just after 10:30 p.m. Surveillance video showed Mitchell and another person charged, whose name was not disclosed in court documents, getting into an argument. Both men then drew their weapons and fired their guns.
“The codefendant and an acquaintance, within several seconds, returned fire. The victim, an acquaintance of the codefendant, was shot and killed with the bullets from the co-defendant’s firearm,” Ackerman wrote in the decision.
The video does not depict who fired first. However, the co-defendant and friends ran down the street after the shooting. Investigators recovered 24 shell casings at the scene.
In addition, the grand jury was not presented with the option that there was justification for the shooting, according to court documents.
The remaining counts of charge of criminal possession was not dismissed. Prosecutors can represent the case to a grand jury.
Another person allegedly involved in the shooting, Nalik Sealy, was charged with second-degree murder. A third person involved in the shooting, Tyon Baker, pleaded guilty in August to criminal possession of a weapon.
The Albany County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement it plans to bring the case before a new grand jury.
“We respectfully disagree with the decision but will, of course, represent as soon as it is practical to do so,” the statement said.