Niagara Gazette

August 6, 2013

Defense's dismissal motion in child shooting case denied by judge

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

LOCKPORT — A Niagara County Court judge has dismissed a move by the lawyer for a Falls man, accused of shooting a 2-year-old child in the face, to have the charges against his client thrown out.

In a ruling handed down to the lawyers in the case, from the bench, Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said Willie "Boo" Scott's "right to a fair trial has not been violated."

Attorney Earl Key had argued that prosecutors failed, until recently, to disclose information to him that could aid in Scott's defense. Key said the failure to disclose that information meant the case against Scott should be thrown out.

Murphy disagreed. 

Outside the courtroom, after the brief proceeding Tuesday, Key declined to comment on the ruling saying he needed time to review it. Prosecutors also had no comment.

During am earlier hearing before Murphy, Key had claimed the man who was the apparent target in the botched shooting initially told investigators he could not identify the gunman.

"(The shooting target) denied knowing who the shooter was," Key said. "I should have gotten that statement earlier (than the last few days). Had we known (what the shooting target first told detectives), we would have called that witness in the grand jury (investigation)."

Prosecutors pointed out that Key was not Scott's attorney at the time of the grand jury proceeding. Key recently replaced defense attorney Angelo Musitano, who was removed from the case because of a "conflict of interest." 

Musitano had previously represented the mother of Scott's victim in a number of criminal matters.

Prosecutors also noted that defense attorneys don't determine who testifies before a grand jury.

Scott, 32, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault, first-degree criminal use of a firearm and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting that took place in the parking lot of the Hometown Market at 17th Street and Pierce Avenue on Nov. 27.

Scott has denied any involvement in the shooting of the now 3-year-old child.

Investigators have said Scott was shooting at a man sitting in the front seat of the car. Instead of hitting his target, Scott’s bullets slammed into the rear door of the vehicle, striking the child who was sitting in the rear seat.

The little girl suffered “two gun shots directly to the face.” She spent more than three weeks in Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, undergoing at least two surgeries to remove a bullet and bullet fragments from her face.