Thursday, January 14, 1988, p. 8 and 15.
V.R. Scheuren convicted
By TOM RUE
- NARROWSBURG - After 50 minutes of deliberation, a jury of six women returned a guilty verdict on three counts against Vincent R. Scheuren, 19, of Narrowsburg, on January 11 in Town of Tusten Justice Court.
- Scheuren was convicted of assault in the third degree against Howard Williams, also of Narrowsburg, for an August 16, 1987 incident at Lander's Narrowsburg campground. In addition, Scheuren was found guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree and disorderly conduct, stemming from the same incident.
- Tusten Justice Alan Reith set sentencing for March 9 at 6:30 p.m., after ordering that a pre-sentence investigation be conducted by the Sullivan County Probation Department. Due to his age and other factors, Scheuren may be eligible for "youthful offender" status, which would relieve him of a criminal record in the matter.
- In her summation to the jury, assistant district attorney Bonnie Mitzner said Scheuren and William Creamer, also of Narrowsburg, had apparently been partying on the night of August 15 before stopping in at Lander's, around 12:30 a.m., to buy some snacks. Scheuren admitted to having consumed four beers and was "feeling good", she said.
- In the store, Scheuren began "joking around" with Williams, the on-duty supervising security guard and "the situation snowballed", Mitzner stated. After several minutes, Williams directed Scheuren and Creamer to leave, which they refused to do, she related. After again ordering the pair out of the building, Scheuren reportedly reached for a soda can which Williams was holding in his left hand, and blows began to fly, Mitzner told the jury.
- After the melee which followed, Williams experienced "discoloration and swelling" in one eye lasting for weeks, according to police. The jury determined that this constituted "serious physical injury" under the law, and that Scheuren was not justified in his claim of self-defense.
- Scheuren's attorney, Keith Ingber of Monticello, argued that while his client "may have acted like a jerk", Williams could actually have thrown the first punch. Ingber called into question statements by witnesses by pointing out apparent inconsistencies, and tried to convince the jury that reasonable doubt remained as to his client's guilt or innocence.
- Ingber said Scheuren went at Williams "in a blind fury", unaware at the time that the situation may not really have warranted such violence, following Williams' alleged attack.
- NY State Trooper Joe Barrett was called to testify at the trial, as was livery co-owner Bob Lander, Jr., concerning events after the fight. Barrett disputed Scheuren's statement that his thumb had been severely injured, reporting that Scheuren's thumb was not swollen when he was fingerprinted, Mitzner noted.
- Other witnesses included William Falk of Narrowsburg, Scott McNulty of Beach Lake, and William Miller of New Jersey. All three men were present in the store during the fight.
- Scheuren testified voluntarily at the three-day trial, but apparent inconsistencies or misstatements in his testimony could have hurt his case with the jury.
- A crucial question in the summation seemed to center on when Scheuren became aware that Williams was a campground security guard. Following an objection by Ingber, the judge ordered the trial testimony be read from the record. After a delay, the stenographer read statements that Scheuren knew Williams' position prior to the fight.
- Another critical point appeared to be Scheuren's claim that Williams hit him first, while holding the soda in his left hand. Mitzner noted that the victim is left-handed, and would be unlikely to strike a first blow with his weaker arm.
- Justice Reith instructed the jury to render an impartial verdict, "without fear, favor, or sympathy", and without considering what a possible sentence might be.
- When the jury returned their decision, Scheuren turned in apparent dismay to his father, Ron Scheuren of Narrowsburg, who shook his head. Ingber moved that the court set aside the verdict, claiming a reasonable doubt still existed in the matter. The motion was denied.
- Asked if he intended to appeal, Ingber replied he would "have to talk to my clients", meaning Scheuren and his family.
- According to Reith, the last jury trial in the Tusten court was about two years ago.