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September 25, 2012

 

Court papers detail beating


By NEIL BENJAMIN JR.
nbanjamin@cortlandstandardnew.net
and SARAH BULLOCK
sbullock@cortlandstandardnew.net
Staff Reporters

Three Tompkins Cortland Community College students brutally beat a SUNY Cortland student Friday night after he approached them and tried to protect a group of girls he knew who were being hit on by the three students, according to witness statements.
The fight happened about 11:25 p.m. on Groton Avenue after all the students left a house party at 28 Groton Ave.
Anthony Sacco, an 18-year-old SUNY Cortland student, was found in a parking lot bleeding profusely from his face when Cortland police officers arrived.
Richard M. Renck, 19, Wayne L. Harris III, 19, and Malik I. Abdur-Rasheed, 18, have each been charged with felony second-degree assault and gang assault.
In their witness statements, the group of girls said the three TC3 students followed them along Groton Avenue after the party.
“We started walking down Groton Avenue towards Main Street ... and these guys kept following us,” said SUNY Cortland student Allison Wickers in her supporting deposition.
“I saw at one point that these three guys surrounded Anthony and I saw one of them spit on Anthony’s face. I saw a punch get thrown and I think it might have been Anthony trying to punch the kid that spit on him. Anthony only threw one punch and then he was down on the ground and all three guys started hitting Anthony.”
Sacco’s jaw and hand were broken in the assault, Lt. Richard Troyer said. Sacco sustained “mostly serious facial injuries,” and was bleeding profusely from his face, Troyer said.
Sacco was listed this morning in fair condition at University Hospital in Syracuse.
Renck, Harris and Abdur-Rasheed, all from Long Island, were each released Monday on $10,000 cash bail, according to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department.
In her police statements, SUNY Cortland student Lauren Geisweller said she did not know the three men, who she says were hitting on her.
She said they made statements like, “Do you have boyfriends? and, “girls, where are you going?”
She said another girl with the group told Sacco the guys were “creeping” the girls out.
She said Sacco went to introduce himself by offering a handshake.
She said the men said, “we don’t shake hands with people we don’t know,” and, “we don’t look at people we don’t know.”
Geisweller said Sacco told the women they should just keep walking.
The three men said Sacco threw the first punch, according to their statements.
The defendants were all first-year students at TC3 and shared an apartment in a campus residence hall at 36 Fairview Drive, Dryden.
TC3 suspended Renck, Harris, and Abdur-Rasheed on Saturday, college spokesman Peter Voorhees said Monday.
The three would be allowed to remove their belongings from the residence hall after being bailed out of jail, Voorhees said.
All three are from Suffolk County. Renck is from Setauket, Harris is from Mastic and Abdur-Rasheed is from Coram.
As a condition of release, the three men were warned not to have any communication with anyone who signed statements regarding the case.
During Harris’ arraignment, an order of protection on behalf of witnesses was discussed, but Judge Thomas Meldrim opted for a condition of release instead.
Sacco was taken by a TLC Emergency Medical Services ambulance to Cortland Regional Medical Center.
From there, he was taken to University Hospital.

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