ALBANY — An Albany County prosecutor told a judge Wednesday that Laquan Fallen confessed to the murder of Czsar Lewis — a shooting the defendant’s attorney suggested was an act of self-defense.
Fallen, who turned 24 on Christmas, pleaded not guilty before acting Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough to a superseding indictment charging him with second-degree murder and felony weapon possession. Police and prosecutors allege Fallen shot Lewis once in the chest at Central and Robin streets on Oct. 2 at about 7:25 p.m.
The victim, an Albany High School graduate known as “C.J.,” would have turned 25 on Thursday.
The murder charge, upon conviction, carries 25 years to life in prison. The prosecution’s evidence includes video surveillance in the area, Fallen’s words to detectives in a recorded interview and other remarks in a recorded phone call, according to their statements in court and court papers.
“This defendant confessed to shooting the victim one time,” Assistant District Attorney Stephen Lydon told the judge.
Assistant Alternate Public Defender Tim Berry, the lawyer for Fallen, told the judge there is “quite a bit of evidence” to suggest his client could argue that the shooting was legally justifiable. The lawyer noted that only a single gunshot was fired. And Berry said surveillance video showed Lewis “stalking Central Avenue,” and showed he removed his backpack and reached into it when he was shot.
Berry mentioned that his client’s father — 39-year-old Lashon Turner — was murdered only blocks away in 2021. Turner’s killer, Natural Wise Joseph, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison in July by McDonough.
The attorney said Fallen was living with his fiancee on Central Avenue at the time of the shooting. He said the woman, who was pregnant with twins, was present when the shooting took place.
The judge asked Berry if his client had a pistol permit; Berry declined to answer. In court papers, police said the defendant did not have a gun permit.
Berry asked the judge to release Fallen under the supervision of probation officials and subject to electronic monitoring. Lydon opposed the defendant’s release.
During an interview that lasted hours, the prosecutor said, Fallen never indicated that he saw Lewis with a gun or any other kind of weapon.
An Albany County grand jury previously indicted Fallen on the charge of second-degree weapon possession, but reached no conclusion on the murder charge. Lydon noted that Fallen, who was already being held without bail, now faces a more serious charge.
The judge ordered Fallen to continue to be held in the Albany County jail without bail.