Attorneys Raise Body Camera Evidence Questions In Manhattan "Self-Defense" Murder Case

Attorneys Raise Body Camera Evidence Questions In Manhattan “Self-Defense” Murder Case

Earlier this week, Tracy McCarter appeared in Manhattan court docket to be taught whether or not a choose would dismiss the second-degree homicide indictment towards her, as her attorneys raised questions concerning the NYPD physique digital camera footage tied to the case which seem to inform a unique story.

In March 2020, McCarter, a nurse at Weill-Cornell, was arrested for the dying of her estranged husband, James Murray. The pair had been separated since July 2019 after Murray, who’s white, had repeatedly kicked, struck, and choked McCarter, who’s Black. By the point they separated, he had been out and in of rehab 5 occasions, although his consuming and violence had escalated.

In accordance with court docket paperwork, Murray was drunk when he got here to McCarter’s Higher West Facet condominium after locking himself out of his Airbnb condominium. As soon as inside, the court docket paperwork say, he demanded cash to purchase extra alcohol from McCarter. She was then attacked by McCarter, in keeping with court docket paperwork, and pushed towards a mirror that just about fell on them. McCarter allegedly picked up a knife and held it out in entrance of her to cease additional assaults. However, in keeping with the paperwork, Murray saved advancing in direction of her.

“The knife entered Mr. Murray’s upper right chest,” according to court documents. When the police arrived, McCarter was performing CPR. Murray was brought to the hospital, where he died.

At issue is whether McCarter, who her attorneys claim to be a victim of domestic violence, can claim self-defense against their abusive partner. The case has drawn the attention of Manhattan’s next district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who initially announced his support of McCarter.

McCarter was arrested and held without bail for six months on Rikers Island despite the jail’s recurring COVID-19 outbreaks. Meanwhile, the pandemic shuttered all courtrooms, including grand jury hearings. It was not until September 2020 that prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office submitted McCarter’s case before a grand jury, which indicted her for second-degree murder and manslaughter. Two days later, McCarter was released to home confinement and electronic monitoring.

In 2021, McCarter’s attorneys filed several motions, including one to dismiss the indictment because Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Sara Sullivan had excluded McCarter’s statement to police that Murray had attacked her.

In another motion, they argued that one of the responding officers wrote in her police report that McCarter admitted to stabbing Murray. But a transcription of body cam footage from other responding officers, as reviewed by Gothamist, revealed that while several officers used the word “stabbed” while talking amongst themselves, McCarter herself is never heard uttering that word.

Nonetheless, in her applications for at least three search warrants on McCarter’s home and electronic devices, Sullivan included one of the officer’s statements that read “that she spoke to Tracey [sic] McCarter and Ms. McCarter stated in substance: ‘I let him stay the night, I tried to help him, he tried to take my purse, and I stabbed him in the chest.’”

But McCarter’s attorneys argue their client never made that statement. They also note that, when asked about the different wording on her applications for search warrants, Sullivan told two members of McCarter’s defense team that she had to “refresh” the officer’s reminiscence.

This isn’t the primary time {that a} prosecutor’s workplace has been accused of withholding exculpatory physique cam footage. In October 2021, a Staten Island choose vacated Jason Serrano’s 2018 conviction, after physique cam footage confirmed officers planting marijuana in Serrano’s automobile, which led to his false arrest. Richmond County prosecutors didn’t flip the footage over to Serrano’s protection workforce till months after he pled responsible to keep away from being despatched to Rikers.

When requested for remark, the Manhattan District Legal professional Cy Vance’s Workplace forwarded Sullivan’s response, wherein she argued that, as a result of McCarter didn’t make the alleged assertion throughout a police interrogation, the prosecutor was not obliged to introduce different details that supported her protection.

READ MORE: After Six Months On Rikers, A Nurse Stands Accused Of Murder In A Case She Says Was Self-Protection

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