Niagara Gazette


April 3, 2014

Jury takes three hours to find Cordarise Houston guilty in attempted murder case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — It took a Niagara County Court jury a little less than three hours to decide they had not heard a case of mistaken identity. 

After listening, three more times, to a recording of a 911 call where John Petty identified the man who shot him, the jury of nine men and three women agreed and found Cordarise Houston, 23, 666 70th St., guilty on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He could face as much as 40 years in prison when he’s sentenced by Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III in July. Houston had rejected a plea offer from prosecutors that would have capped his potential prison term at 10 years.

Houston was accused of gunning down Petty, 25, a childhood friend, in the early morning hours of May 26 in his home in the 1900 block of Cudaback Avenue. Petty was shot seven times, suffering a graze wound to his head and multiple wounds to his chest, stomach and arm. 

He was rushed to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, where doctors were able to save his life. Petty is now paralyzed from the waist down and can not remember anything abut the shooting.

But Petty was able to make a 911 call to police, moments after he was shot. A recording of that call was played by prosecutors at the beginning of the trial, again at the end of the case, and then the jury listened to a part of the call, played for them three times, during deliberations on Wednesday.

As the call was re-played, members of the jury listened intently, some with their eyes closed, as Petty could be heard telling Falls police officers that he had been shot by “Cord Houston, Cord Houston.”

First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffman, who prosecuted the case, said the 911 tape was the key to the jury verdict. 

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