Maeweather pleads ‘not guilty’ to four felony charges in Crossgates shooting

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Tasheem Maeweather, right, talks to his lawyer, Lee Kindlon, before being arraigned on four felony charges in Albany County Supreme court Monday afternoon. Looking on from the gallery, in back, are two of Maeweather’s family members.

ALBANY COUNTY — “He’s a sweet kid,” said Tasheem Maeweather’s lawyer.

Maeweather is the 20-year-old Albany man accused of shutting down Crossgates Mall by firing a gun inside the mall on Nov. 12. He was indicted by a grand jury on four felony charges — one count each of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and first-degree reckless endangerment — and pleaded “not guilty” to all charges on Monday afternoon before Judge Roger D. McDonough in Albany County Supreme Court.

“It doesn’t matter the charges, he’s not guilty,” said Maeweather’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon of Albany's Kindlon Law Firm, when asked Friday about the two new felony charges — attempted assault and attempted murder — added by the grand jury.

Arraignment proceedings on Monday lasted less than 15 minutes. The judge first conferred with Kindlon and Assistant District Attorney Steven Sharp at the bench on admitting cameras to the courtroom. Sharp said he had “no position” and Kindlon said he didn’t object.

A scrum of television-camera operators swept through the courtroom into the jury box and two still photographers stood on the other side of the bench. Long lenses pointed at Maewether as he stood at the bench in a yellow prison jumpsuit, his wrists and ankles manacled.

Sharp read the list of charges handed down by the grand jury and Kinlon entered a plea of “not guilty.”

“I will enter a plea of ‘not guilty,’” said the judge. McDonough also said, “There is no plea offer by the people.”

Maeweather then answered a series of questions from the judge, giving his date of birth and Albany apartment address. Asked who lived at that address, he said, “Me and my mother and brother and sisters.”

Maeweather said “no sir” when the judge asked if he worked and repeated, “no sir” when the judge asked if he went to school.

When McDonough then asked how he supported himself, Maeweather turned to his lawyer who said he was living with his mother.

As Maeweather was led from the courtroom, he looked over to the gallery bench where his family was sitting — two young women and a middle-aged woman, all of them in tears.

“I love you,” one of the women said before the three of them exited to the crowd of press waiting outside the courtroom door.


The Enterprise — Michael Koff
The family of Tasheem Maeweather listens as he is arraigned.


Eager for trial

The key witness in a Guilderland hearing leading to the grand jury action was an off-duty State Trooper who said he saw the entire altercation at Crossgates Mall unfold and saw Maeweather firing a gun twice.

Maeweather was charged two days after the shooting had closed the sprawling mall as shoppers and workers fled or were locked down until a police sweep was completed. No gun has been found. No one was hurt in the incident, and police say they haven’t found the person who was shot at. Guilderland Police also say they have reviewed a surveillance video that records the shooting incident.

Maeweather had pleaded “not guilty” in town court to two felony charges: reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

Kindlon suggested at the hearing that perhaps the off-duty Trooper, Ian De Giovine, hadn’t really been watching carefully during the altercation, because he was at the mall with his family, not expecting any trouble.

De Giovine responded, “I’m an observer wherever I go. I’m a police officer.”

“At a preliminary hearing,” Kindlon said on Friday, “people try to paint a clear simple picture because the burden of proof is so low...At moments of crisis, your focus is not what you think. It’s standard practice to question an eye witness’s memory...It’s outrageous the Trooper remembered the black stripe on his Air Jordans but not what everyone else looked like. It’s too perfect...If something is too good to be true, it usually is.”

At his arraignment in Guilderland Town Court, Maeweather did not remember the ZIP code at the address where he said he had lived all his life. His lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office had to translate for him when the judge asked if he was employed. He was also unable to spell the name of his “night school” and said he wasn’t sure what he was studying. His lawyer said he had an IEP, referencing an Individual Education Plan, used for students with disabilities.

When The Enterprise asked Kindlon if he might use Maeweather’s disabilities as part of his defense, he said, “Diminished-capacity defenses are difficult.” Kindlon added, “I don’t foreclose any possibilities.”


The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Standing before Judge Roger D. McDonough in Albany County Supreme Court Monday, Tasheem Maeweather, right, pleads “not guilty.” His lawyer, Lee Kindlon, is beside him.


Kindlon said Friday that Maeweather is eager to have his case go to trial. “When he’s accused of something he didn’t do, he wants to know how quickly he can get exonerated...Nobody wants to be locked up.”

Maeweather was not granted bail and he remains in Albany County’s jail. At his November arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grome said that Maeweather had a prior felony conviction, with probation from November 2015 until 2020, noting he had “done less than a year.”

Guilderland Police Senior Investigator Thomas Funk said that Maeweather had been on probation for drug sales.

Grome also noted there was eyewitness and video evidence for the charges and said, “We do believe he’s a flight risk.” She said the crimes Maeweather is accused of showed a “disregard for human life” and also that he was “a clear and present danger.”

Kindlon said on Friday that a separate proceeding is underway for Maeweather’s probation violation. “Bail is contingent on a number of factors,” he said.

Cecilia Walsh, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office, did not return a Friday call seeking comment.

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