Christopher Prince, 24, who is also accused of shooting and paralyzing a St. John's football player in a campus shooting in 2001, was found guilty Tuesday of possessing a handgun, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
But Prince was exonerated of charges he shot Orville Mongol in the leg last March, the spokeswoman said.
On Monday, the day before the jury handed down the verdict, Prince's Manhattan lawyer, Neville Mitchell, almost needed an attorney of his own when he was arrested as he tried to return from the lunch break.
Mitchell wrapped up his closing argument for Prince just hours before he got into a scuffle with court officers when he left his identification in the courtroom.
"I was ordered to leave the building and I wouldn't," Mitchell said. "To suffer this kind of indignity in the middle of a trial is ridiculous."
Mitchell left the court during a lunch break and forgot his wallet, which contained his ID, in the courtroom, he told Judge Barry Kron, who presided over Prince's trial. The identification allows lawyers to skip the long line of jurors, defendants and family members who have to pass through security and join a shorter line with their fellow bar members.
When Mitchell tried to explain his situation to the court officer monitoring the line, he was told he had to wait, he said. He stepped back in line but kept looking for an officer who might know him, he said.
"I saw another officer who recognized me and waived to him," Mitchell said. But the first officer saw the other officer and supposedly told him Mitchell was trying to skip the line.
Mitchell became even more impatient when he received a call from the court clerk, telling him the jury, which began deliberations on Prince's verdict that morning, sent a note back to the judge asking for a clarification, the lawyer said. Again, Mitchell tried to explain to the officers his situation, but they told him to wait in line.
Mitchell called one of the officers an idiot, he said, and that is when he was ordered to leave the building. When he would not, they placed him under arrest and escorted him to a holding cell, he said.
"The officers knew I was on trial, they knew there was a note from the jury, yet they kept me detained for a half an hour," he said. "They talked about pressing charges."
Mitchell received a desk appearance ticket for disorderly conduct, a violation that could carry a sentence of community service or up to 15 days in prison.
His client, Prince was on trial for shooting his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend in St. Albans last March while he was out on bail.
The nine woman, three man jury found Prince guilty on a weapons charge, but not guilty on the attempted murder and reckless endangerment charges, a spokeswoman for Brown said. He faces up to seven years in prison on the gun charge.
Prince is also accused of paralyzing a St. John's University linebacker and shooting into a crowd of students in March 2001. He is still facing charges in the St. John's shooting.
Two juries have deadlocked over whether Prince shot into a crowd of students on the St. John's campus in March 2001, when football star Corey Mitchell was shot and paralyzed. Another student was shot in the leg.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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