Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Rochester

Freeman Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charges

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Rochester: Freeman Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charges
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Friends and family of the Pullman Avenue shooting victims took up several rows of a Rochester city courtroom Friday morning.

They were crying as Marcus Freeman, 26, walked out in a brown jail jumpsuit and pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and attempted second degree murder.

Rochester Police investigators say Freeman shot and killed Walesy Alvarez as she sat in a car outside a house on Pullman Ave. Her friends say she was there with her boyfriend Martin Moore. Moore was also shot in the shoulder and torso. Alvarez and Moore were helping his sister move out of Freeman's residence.

The incident set off a massive manhunt for Freeman that included heightened security at the Monroe County District Attorney's office. Eventually, Freeman turned himself in Thursday afternoon.

"I received a phone call from my client yesterday late afternoon before he was picked up by police. He indicated that he wanted to surrender. He was calm, he indicated he wanted to meet with me and soon thereafter he walked out of the house on Second Street," said defense attorney Mike Schiano.

Some of Wally's friends said Thursday they're upset Freeman was even out walking the streets. He has a criminal record and is facing a serious rape charge.

Freeman did time in prison for criminal possession of a weapon. He violated parole and then went back to prison for about another year. He got out in October of last year.

In June, he was indicted on first degree rape charges. Friends and attorneys say the alleged rape victim, a 12-year-old girl, is connected to the Pullman Ave. shooting victims.

Prosecutor Kelly Wolford explained that City Court Judge Melchor Castro set bail at $20,000 for Freeman on that rape charge. Wolford says it was a high bail, but when Freeman then saw Judge Vicki Argento in County Court, Wolford says her office asked for an even higher bail. Argento kept it at $20,000. Freeman posted it and got out.

"Bail is all about whether or not the person is going to return to court. In New York, it's not necessarily about the risk, unfortunately. The bail was set, he returned to court. We requested that the bail be increased when our case got better. She didn't. That is in her discretion. Obviously, no one could've predicted what happened," Wolford said.

"It's a very frustrating thing.. it's a frustrating thing for prosecutors sometimes to know that people who are violent offenders are able to post bail and get out. So I can only imagine the frustation of the family and the wishes to go back and do things differently but that's how our system is and unfortuantely we had a terrible result here. "

Judge Castro Friday ordered that Freeman now be held without bail. Castro also issued orders of protection for Moore and another witness.
Freeman is due back in court Sept. 12th .

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