District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Plea in Weapons Case
City of Newburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in Connection with Shooting a Pistol in the Air in the City of Newburgh
District Attorney to Recommend Ten Years in Prison
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Friday, December 4, 2020, Demetrius Stewart, 34, of Newburgh, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill, to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, in connection with allegations that he had repeatedly discharged a pistol in the air while in the midst of a large crowd in the City of Newburgh.
On April 10, 2020, at approximately 10:35 PM, a large group had formed in the vicinity of Carpenter Avenue and First Street, in the City of Newburgh. The City of Newburgh Police Department was notified that their “Shotspotter” system was indicating that thirteen gunshots had occurred on that street corner. “Shotspotter” is an automated system designed to recognize the sound of gunfire, triangulate the location of where the shots occurred and transmit that information to the police. A subsequent investigation conducted by the City of Newburgh Police Department, who were aided by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, revealed the existence of a digital recording showing Stewart repeatedly firing a pistol into the air.
Pursuant to a plea agreement placed on the record at the time Stewart pleaded guilty, the District Attorney’s Office will be recommending that Stewart be sentenced to ten years in state prison, and five years post-release supervision, when he is sentenced on January 21, 2021.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department for their work on the case and their arrest of Stewart.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Janine Kovacs.
“Reckless gunplay on a crowded city street is certainly deserving of a severe prison sentence,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “City of Newburgh residents deserve to be free of the gun violence that occurs all too often where they live, work and raise their families. I commend the City of Newburgh for investing in the ‘Shotspotter’ system, which allowed a successful prosecution in this matter even without the testimony of eyewitnesses. My office will continue to work with the City of Newburgh Police Department, and our other law enforcement partners, to eradicate gun violence and give City residents the peace they deserve.”
A 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’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.