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Friday, June 21, 2024

Jury Discussions Begin in 2022 Murder Trial of Schenectady’s VibeZ Bar


SCHENECTADY — The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of Markeith Buchanan, who stands⁣ accused of a fatal ⁤shooting outside VibeZ Bar & Lounge in‍ Schenectady in⁤ 2022.

At 25 years old, Buchanan is facing a ‌felony charge of second-degree murder, along⁢ with two ⁤charges of criminal possession of a ‍weapon. If found ‍guilty, he could be sentenced to anywhere between ​15⁤ years to life and 25 years to ⁤life in‌ prison for the murder charge.

Judge Matthew Sypniewski clarified‌ to​ the jury on Tuesday that if they do not find Buchanan guilty of the murder charge, they can still‌ consider convicting him on ⁣the lesser charges of first-or- ‍second-degree⁢ manslaughter.

During his closing statement,‌ Buchanan’s attorney, Kurt ⁤Haas, repeatedly showed video footage of his client being assaulted on the night of ⁤the ‍July ​1, 2022 incident. Haas argued that Buchanan did not intentionally kill John Bass that ‍night.

“My client retrieved​ his gun from his car for⁢ self-defense,” Haas stated. “He had no intention to shoot or​ kill John Bass. This is evident from his own testimony and his actions that night.”

Haas further argued that if Buchanan had intended to kill ⁢Bass, he would have had multiple opportunities ⁣to do so before Bass was ​within 3-to-6‌ feet of him⁢ when he was shot. ⁢Haas maintained that Buchanan⁤ shot Bass once because he felt it was necessary.

“I ‌propose to you‍ that ⁣my client’s actions were justified,” Haas said. “My client did what he believed was⁤ necessary.”

Throughout the four-day trial, video footage captured from cell‌ phones, ⁤the⁤ bar’s surveillance ⁢system, and the Schenectady Camera Project was presented to the jury to illustrate​ the events of ‍that night. The footage shows Buchanan being assaulted by Bass and being labeled ​a “snitch.” The defense argues that this confrontation led Buchanan to fear for his⁢ life and retrieve​ his gun from his⁢ car for protection. The prosecution, however, ‌contends that Buchanan retrieved his gun ‌not for‍ protection, but for retaliation.

Intent and justification cannot coexist, Schenectady County Assistant District ⁣Attorney Nicholaus McDonald told the jury.

“Buchanan himself stated that it was not a kill-or-be-killed situation,” McDonald said.

The prosecutor argued that after Bass had exposed Buchanan as a “snitch” ‍and assaulted ‌him, Buchanan had ⁤ample opportunities to leave the⁢ scene.

“The defendant was the initial ‍aggressor, and he was the only one to introduce deadly physical ‍force,” ⁤McDonald said.

McDonald argued that the initial altercation should⁢ have been the⁣ end of the story, ​but Buchanan went to his car, retrieved his gun, ‌and then shot Bass when he was within 3-to-6 feet of him in the parking lot.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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