Orange County News
For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek
March 3, 2022 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Announces State Prison Sentence For
Defendant Found Guilty in Absentia in Gun Case
Brooklyn Man Who Failed to Appear at His Trial and was Found Guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree Sentenced to 12 years in Prison
Defendant Failed to Appear at Trial and was Convicted “In Absentia”
Defendant faces additional Two to Four Years in Prison for Bail Jumping
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on that on March 3, 2022, Kaeshawn Kerr, 27, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to a total of twelve years in state prison, and five years post-release supervision, in connection with illegal possessing a handgun and forged driver’s license. On September 15, 2021, a jury in Orange County Court found Kerr guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. The top-count convictions occurred after Kerr, who had been at liberty after posting bail, failed to appear in court as directed, and was not present in court at any time during the trial. New York State law allows courts to try and sentence defendants “in absentia” if they voluntarily and willfully refuse to come to court. A warrant for Kerr’s arrest was issued.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Mangold argued that on January 1, 2021, Kerr had been driving a car on Harriman Drive, in the Town of Goshen, when he was stopped by a New York State Trooper for speeding. After giving the Trooper a false name, Kerr fled in the vehicle to a Lowe’s home improvement store in Chester. Troopers waited outside of the store and when Kerr emerged called to Kerr, who attempted to flee on foot. During the chase Kerr threw away a loaded 9 mm Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun and a forged Connecticut driver’s license on him in the name of “Dennis Charette”.
In January 2021, bail had been set for Kerr in the amount of fifty-thousand dollars cash or one-hundred-thousand dollars secured bond or two-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars partially secured bond. Kerr eventually posted a bond and was at liberty. Kerr had last appeared in Orange County Court on August 19, 2021, when the date for the trial was set. Kerr, who had been ordered to return to court for the trial, failed to appear as directed on September 9, 2021. The trial was conducted in Kerr’s absence.
Kerr received a sentence of twelve years in state prison, and five years post-release supervision, on the charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and a concurrent sentence of three and one-half to seven years in state prison on the charge of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.
Kerr was arrested on January 11, 2022, by and Orange County Sheriff’s Investigator assigned to the United States Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force. In addition to the weapons and forged instrument charges, Kerr was charged by an Orange County Grand Jury in a separate indictment with Bail Jumping in the Second Degree. Kerr faces an additional two to four years in state prison on the Bail Jumping charge. Kerr is next scheduled to appear in County Court in connection with the bail jumping charge on April 18, 2022.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Marshal’s Service for apprehending Kerr, and the New York State Police for their initial arrest of Kerr and their assistance in the prosecution.
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Mangold who prosecuted the case.
“Those who voluntarily choose to illegally absent themselves from court proceedings not only end up forfeiting valuable rights to participate in their own trials, but also generally end up in a worse position,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “I had no doubt that this defendant’s repeated attempts to avoid apprehension and punishment would ultimately prove futile. Gun violence continues at alarming levels in New York State and my office will continue to recommend that those who illegally possess weapons be sentenced to meaningful incarceration to deter others from committing similar crimes.”
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.