November 25, 2012

Attempted Murder Charge Leveled Against Jamel Booker, Man Accused of Shooting Ithaca Police Officer

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The man accused of shooting an Ithaca police officer in October was indicted by a Tompkins County grand jury for attempted murder last week.

The decision to try Jamel Booker on an attempted murder charge could add years to any sentence Booker, who was initially charged with aggravated assault and criminal use of a weapon, may receive.

In addition to the attempted murder, Booker also faces other felony charges that could put him behind bars for years: criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon, aggravated assault of a police officer and tampering with physical evidence, according to The Ithaca Journal.

Booker is expected to plead not guilty at his upcoming arraignment Nov. 29, The Journal reported.

The grand jury also indicted Kimberly Harden, 35, a resident who identified herself to WBNG News as Booker’s girlfriend on Oct. 12. Booker was found hiding in Harden’s apartment in the morning after the shooting, according to WBNG — leading the court to accuse Harden of helping shelter Booker from police.

Harden now faces charges of hindering prosecution in the first degree, which, under New York State law, is a class D felony.

As he awaits trial, Booker is being held at the Tompkins County Jail. His bail has been set at $500,000 in cash or $1 million in bonds.

Booker was arrested after allegedly shooting IPD Officer Anthony Augustine on Oct. 11. The chase to catch Booker included dozens of emergency responders scouring the West Village Apartments complex and the woods adjacent to them for several hours.

Following the shooting, Augustine was transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., to be treated for a gunshot wound to the chest. He remained at the hospital until Oct. 18.

The recent charges are not Booker’s first run-in with the law. Six months ago, Booker faced charges of attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon stemming from the accusation that he shot a man in the torso multiple times at a Green Street night club.

The charges were dismissed by a lower court. Since then, Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said the decision has been appealed.

In the last few years, Booker has also been sentenced to probation as a youthful offender, found guilty of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and charged for unlawful possession of cocaine.

Original Author: Akane Otani