Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2 Kaser paintball hate crime suspects released 

Two people facing hate-crime assault charges in a paintball shooting were released from custody Tuesday morning, while shooting suspect remained behind bars on $50,000 bail.

All three suspects — accused in an incident in which Josef Margaretten was shot with two paintball pellets a week ago in the village of Kaser — appeared for a felony hearing in Ramapo Town Court. Assistant District Attorney Jason Rosenwasser told Town Justice Alan Simon that the prosecutor's office was seeking more time to investigate the incident.

Simon released shooting suspect Shashi Ramsaroop's pregnant fiancée, Lindsey Peaks, 20, and Demetrius Latrell Torain, who had been held on $25,000 bail.

Ramsaroop, 23, remained heldbecause his lawyer filed a speedy trial motion and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Ramsaroop, Peaks and Torain are charged with second-degree assault, two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and third-degree criminal tampering. Police said one of them cursed Jews while Margaretten, who is Hasidic, was shot from a car.

Margaretten, 35, of Spring Valley told The Journal News that he first thought he had been shot with bullets. He suffered burn marks to his abdomen.
Peaks and Torain declined to comment when leaving the courtroom Tuesday. Peaks, who told the judge last week she was pregnant, left in tears and was comforted by friends and family. She had been living with Ramsaroop in North Carolina for the past eight months.

Ramsaroop, a truck driver, formerly lived in Nanuet.

He was arrested there in July 2012 for firing a rifle at deer from the roof of his house. He pleaded guilty in January to prohibitive use of a weapon and paid a $455 fine, according to Clarkstown Town Court records.

His lawyer, Ellen Woods, said Tuesday that she had just gotten the case and couldn't comment on the specifics.

"The D.A. is taking this very seriously," she said after talking with a woman who came to support Ramsaroop in court. "The case has just started."

The trio were arrested by Ramapo police shortly after the shooting had been reported on Rita Avenue in Kaser. Members of the Charverim, a Hasidic community organization that conducts safety patrols, stopped the car containing the three suspects until police arrived.

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said the waiving of the preliminary hearing is not unique and he expected a grand jury to hear the case against Ramsaroop, Peaks and Torain by September.

"Waivers are routinely signed for a variety of reasons, including the strength of the evidence," he said.


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