Man who beat pot charge is indicted for attempted murder - The Buffalo News

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Man who beat pot charge is indicted for attempted murder

LOCKPORT – Joachim S. Sylvester, whose felony marijuana possession charge was dismissed March 21 because Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III thought police engaged in racial profiling, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of trying to kill a man.

Sylvester, 38, of Ontario Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded not guilty to attempted second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The incident allegedly occurred in daylight on Highland Avenue in the Falls on the afternoon of April 17.

This time, Murphy gave Sylvester no breaks and threw him in jail without bail to await trial, which is tentatively set for Sept. 29.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann accused Sylvester of stopping his sport utility vehicle “in the middle of Highland Avenue with several people around, including little kids in front of the Highland Deli, and fired shots at someone without a care in the world for all the people around.”

In asking for the revocation of Sylvester’s $50,000 bail bond, set in Falls City Court, Hoffmann said, “He poses a significant risk to the community.”

“Oh, I’m familiar with his history. I’m going to remand the defendant,” replied Murphy, who waited an hour past the scheduled court time for defense attorney Angelo Musitano to arrive in Lockport so the arraignment could be held.

Hoffmann said Sylvester allegedly fired one shot at his intended target from inside his SUV, and then got out of the vehicle and took a second shot. No one was hurt.

Hoffmann said she was unable to obtain enough evidence to indict Sylvester in connection with an incident on April 15, in which police believe Sylvester tried to kill the same man by shooting at him in front of the target’s home. She said the same SUV as that used in the April 17 incident allegedly was seen there.

The District Attorney’s Office is appealing Murphy’s March 21 decision to dismiss an indictment against Sylvester and Shateek L. Payne, 36, of Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo.

On May 9, 2013, Niagara Falls police pulled over a late-model purple Hummer that Payne was driving at 18th and Niagara streets. Passengers included Sylvester and Payne’s brother Michael, 29, who was shot to death June 14 in Buffalo.

Officers said they found seven pounds of marijuana in the back seat of the Hummer. Sylvester was carrying a stack of counterfeit money.

Murphy ruled that police had no reason to stop the Hummer, even though Shateek Payne pleaded guilty to running a stop sign after the pot charges were thrown out. Murphy said it was a case of “driving while black.”

Wednesday, Sylvester wasn’t found guilty, but he didn’t go free. Musitano protested that nothing had changed in the case since the $50,000 bail was set in City Court.

email: tprohaska@buffnews,com

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