Teen charged in Kathina Thomas shooting, school tax cap going nowhere, Schenectady cops to get a coach, a good year for syrup

Police have arrested a 15-year-old for firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas. Jermayne Timmons, an Albany High student, was charged Tuesday night. No one from his family accompanied him to the arraignment. As person said to the Gazette of Timmons, "He's only a kid himself." And what about the more than $20,000 in reward money? APD chief James Tuffey says it didn't play much of a role. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Oscar Mora, ane of the organizers of that big drug operation in Schenectady (the one with wich the former police chief Greg Kaczmarek's wife was allegedly involved), accepted a plea deal yesterday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Schenectady County Judge Karen Drago scolded Mora for "polluting" the community. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

It looks like a state cap on school property taxes isn't going to happen during this legislative session. [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady is going to spend $40,000 over the next year-and-a-half to hire a wellness coach in an attempt to help its cops lose weight. [TU]

The Town of Malta is trying to sort out whether it's OK to keep a pet horse in your backyard. [Daily Gazette]

This year apparently had a great maple syrup season. The weather was "just right" according to one producer. [Daily Gazette]


15 year old kids should be rehearsing lines for Drama Club and making mix tapes for their friends. Not being arraigned on (child) murder charges. This is nothing short of tragic and I think we as a community are in more trouble than we think.

All I can say, Pantaloons, is "well said". The whole thing is just so horribly sad.

Two lives gone.

I'd be interested to see the evidence against the kid they arrested for Kathina Thomas' murder. If they have some honest-to-god compelling evidence that he indeed did it, then this "kid" is a dangerous little thug who deserves to be locked up like an animal for the rest of his life. (15/16 is plenty old enough to understand the consequences of horrible actions.) However, my opinion/personal experience w/the APD is such that I'm highly skeptical of whether or not they actually got the right guy here, or if they just grabbed the first gang kid w/a rap sheet who happened to be in the area at the time in response to a growing public outcry to find the monster responsible for this. I'm not a big fan of sending someone to prison for a crime that might yet (as far as I know,) have not committed.

Of course, if there's some seriously compelling evidence that this kid killed Kathina Thomas, all I can say is that the APD finally did *something* right. If that's indeed the case, lock him up and lose the key.

Whoa Kim... let's hold on a minute. Before we start locking people up like animals, lets take maybe a minute to consider other options. I'm not saying that the young man arrested in the murder should get off without any punishment or any jail time when I say what I'm about to say. Taking another's life is a serious thing and should have serious punishments.

But locking people up isn't the solution. For every young kid involved in gangs and drugs and a "thug life" that we lock up, there are multiples more that could have just as easily been in a wrong time, wrong place senario and could have killed a little girl. Locking this young man up isn't fixing that major issue. Kathina's death could have been prevented if the economic and social situation of those involved with gangs. No one wakes up in the morning and screams, "OMG! MUST JOIN GANG AND DO DRUGS!!!" There are reasons.

I grew up in neighborhoods a lot like Kathina's. Half of the kids that graduated 5th grade with me - before we were sent to the larger middle and high schools - either went through unplanned and unwanted teenage pregnancies, became involved in drugs other than alcohol and pot, and many became involved with gangs or other forms of crime. Many today are in the same if not worse economic/social status that we experienced as ten year olds. I was lucky - my parents got me involved in fencing, softball, music and reading. Not everyone else had parents that actively sought to keep their children away from unsavory folk. Many parents had to work two or three jobs to stay off welfare. Many didn't get off welfare. It was easy for kids to get involved with "bad stuff" because they were unsupervised and their parents were uninvolved... or worse, involved in the same stuff.

All this said, there's no excuse for murder. And a 15 year old definately understands the difference between right and wrong. And he should be punished. But I'm not convinced that locking someone in a cage like a misbehaving animal or worse - execution - is the solution. He didn't just pick up a gun and say, "Hey, I'm going to kill a little girl today, cool." There were a series of events that we, as a society, are partially responsible for.

I'm a big fan of rehabilitation. And since he's 15 and made some horrible life choices I'm sure he's going to regret, I don't think educating him and rehabilitating him is the wrong way to go on this one.

Uh, Ellie? "A series of events that we as a society are responsible for?" Sorry, but I'm sure that Kathina Thomas' family isn't going to be particularly sympathetic to that one. I can't imagine they want to hear that they, as part of "society" are partly responsible for bringing up a violent criminal that needs to be taken out of circulation. Frankly, *I* didn't have anything to do whatsoever w/Kathina Thomas' killer or his upbringing, and I had absolutely nothing to do one way or the other w/the horrible way he turned out. You go from pointing out the piss-poor parenting of some people in lower-income neighborhoods for the way their kids often turn out, but then point the finger back at "we as a society?" Sorry, it doesn't wash. And while I'm sure it's easy enough to be utterly useless to society in those circumstances, or worse, a violently criminal danger, there are lots of people who turned out all right in spite of a miserably Dickensian upbringing.

Sorry, but your post is nothing short of victim-blaming, and I haven't seen any compelling evidence that rehabilitation is going to work on a hardened killer, no matter how young. This wasn't some horrible accident (like some yokel forgetting to check the chamber before cleaning a gun,) that had no malicious intent behind it. The guy who killed Kathina Thomas was shooting at *someone.* And yes, he needs to be taken out of circulation along w/other violent criminals so that normal, law-abiding people like the Thomases don't have to be afraid to have their children play on their own front steps.

Frankly I don't really care if the Thomases don't feel sympathetic to my point of view. Yes, there are perfectly wonderful people out there that turned out okay despite living in a Dickenson fantasy; my Dad is one of them. Except that's the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.

Kim, let me ask you this: How many jobs do you work? I work two - a whopping 80 or so hours a week - and I can't possibly consider how I would ever bring up a child. Now if I were to have a young teenage child, I would try to get into after school programs, or some sort of volunteer work, but let's be honest. Kids give their parents the slip all the time. They could certainly say "Well yes Mom, I was home at 7pm doing my homework" but there's really no way that I could be 100% certain they weren't outside on the stoop involved with things I wouldn't want them to be. Sometimes the piss-poor parenting is because the parent can't physically be there. And why aren't they there? They are trying to make the money necessary for survival.

I'm assuming you vote and pay your taxes. And if so, then you are culpable just like everyone else. We vote people into office who refuse to address poverty and the reasons marginalized groups turn to crime in favor of just locking them up. The US has nearly as high a percentage of people locked away nations like China, Saudi Arabi and nations that fall in our "Axis of Evil". Not all of them are hardened violent criminals.

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