Former TC3 Student Rejects Plea Deal in Assault Case, Preparing for May Trial
Another former TC3 Student arrested in connection with a gang type assault on Groton Avenue in Cortland last October has rejected a plea offer and is preparing to take his case to trial.
On Wednesday 19-year-old Richard Renck appeared in Cortland County Court. Renck along with 19-year-old Wayne Harris III and 18-year-old Malik Abdur-Rasheed; were all arrested last fall on felony counts of gang assault and assault.
Police say the three men attacked a SUNY Cortland student near 15 Groton Avenue; the three men are accused of beating the victim after he attempted to dissuade the trio from making unwanted comments and advances toward a group of girls that were attending a house party at that address.
The trio is accused of punching and kicking the victim who sustained a broken hand and jaw in the assault and other serious facial injuries.
Last week Harris pled guilty to one count of attempted assault, as part of a plea deal to resolve his case. In exchange for the plea county prosecutors have agreed to drop the more serious gang assault and other charges and recommend that he serve 1 to 3 years in prison. Harris agreed to testify against his co-defendants if the case goes to trial.
On Wednesday Renck rejected a plea offer where he would plead guilty to a felony count of assault in exchange for a three year prison term.
After rejecting the offer Renck’s attorney and Assistant County Prosecutor Carl Rosencranz proceeded with a pretrial hearing. During the hearing Cortland City Police Officer Mellissa Pym testified that on the night of the assault she stopped Renck and his codefendants on Haskell Place, at that time she said the men seemed out of breath as though they had just run from somewhere in addition she said she saw blood on their clothing. Later City Police Officers brought the three women, who the men are accused of harassing, to the scene to identify them; all three separately confirmed that they were the men involved in the beating.
One of the women also took the stand Wednesday, Riki Martinez a junior at SUNY Cortland testified that she had seen the three men at the house party prior to the fight and recognized at least one of the suspects based on their clothing.
The hearing was suspended and will resume sometime in the next couple weeks.
If the case does go to trial and Renck is convicted of the most serious charge of gang assault he faces 5 to 25 years in prison.