January 29, 2009

Suspect in Shooting Charged with Assault

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On Jan. 8, shots rang out on the 300 block of First Street, disturbing the usual peace and quiet of an Ithaca evening. Yesterday, the Tompkins County Grand Jury charged Caesar Slaughter, 52, with first-degree assault, according to the Ithaca Journal. Slaughter was also charged two counts of second-degree criminal possession for the alleged shooting, which wounded an Ithaca man.
Despite Ithaca’s reputation as the “third most educated city in the nation,” it has an above-average crime rate. In 2006 alone, the most recent year of published crime data, there were four counts of forcible rape, 28 counts of robbery, 30 counts of aggravated assault and 3,910 property crimes. Additionally, the city is nearly ranked in the top 300 on a list of the most violent metropolitan areas, according to 2006 Uniform Crime Reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Slaughter, who also goes by several aliases such as Messiah Turner, is a five-time convicted felon who has been arrested more than 60 times, according to court papers, as reported by the Ithaca Journal. These convictions date back to 1974. His recent first-degree assault charge is a class B felony, and the two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon are Class C felonies.
According to the Ithaca Journal, the victim of the shooting was a 40-year-old male whose ex-wife was a friend of Slaughter’s. The victim’s wife and stepdaughter had been to a house on the block of First Street where Slaughter had stayed.
On the evening of the crime, the victim and his stepdaughter went to the house to find his wife, and, after being told she was not there, left. They were pursued by several men and Slaughter, who threatened the victim with a gun and then pocketed it. According to court papers, Slaughter allegedly pulled out the pistol and shot the victim in the abdomen while struggling with the man.
The victim was taken to the hospital. Subsequently the Ithaca Police followed Slaughter back to the original house. He was arrested at that time on a parole warrant from July 2007.
Slaughter is currently being held, without bail, in Tompkins County Jail.