Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Shateek Lanier

Other New York Exonerations Involving Official Misconduct
At 8:50 p.m. on May 29, 2012, 17-year-old Jerrell Reid was standing in front of his home at 397 Tenth Street in Troy, New York, when a car pulled up at the corner of Tenth Street and Rensselaer Street. Two people got out wearing hoodies and one began firing a gun in Reid’s direction. He was struck in the right thigh and right ankle and was grazed on the same leg. The men got back in the car and fled.

The shooting received media attention because Reid was a junior at Troy High School and a standout player for the school’s Flying Horses basketball team.

Reid told police that he was about 10 feet from the gunman, but could not identify him because it was dark and there was a power outage at the time of the shooting.

On June 1, police arrested 22-year-old Shateek Lanier and charged him with the shooting.

In January 2013, Lanier went to trial in Rensselaer County Supreme Court on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted gang assault, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm.

The prosecution’s case relied almost solely on two witnesses who identified Lanier as the gunman. Six shell casings had been recovered, but the gun was never found.

Krystal Carbonneau testified that she was outside on the porch of the building across the street from the shooting. When she heard the gunshots, she hustled her children inside. She said she returned outside and saw Lanier—whom she knew—as the gunman.

“There was a blackout, nobody had electricity, but there was a light, like, lighting up the street where you could see,” Carbonneau said. “When I was bringing the kids upstairs…I seen his face…You could see his face in the light.”

She said that Lanier was accompanied by a man she knew as Ziggy, whose real name was Davonte McGill.

B’Asia Willis, who was Carbonneau’s friend, also identified Lanier as the gunman.

Both witnesses were questionable at best. Willis said the gun was black. Carbonneau said the gun was silver. When Willis called 911 to report the shooting, the operator asked who was shooting. Willis said she didn’t know because the shooter had his back to her and was running away.

Willis claimed that Lanier’s face was illuminated by streetlight, although there was a power outage at the time of the shooting. She said there was a “light shining on the whole street.” Asked where the light came from, Willis said, “Could have come from the moon. I don’t know where the hell the light came from. There was light outside.”

Willis said that after the shooting she talked about it with Carbonneau to try to figure out who the gunman was. Willis said that “different people were saying all kinds of different things.”

Carbonneau, who was facing criminal charges of her own, including a felony burglary charge, denied talking to Willis about the shooting. Carbonneau admitted to taking Xanax and smoking marijuana that night. Two days after the shooting, she called the detective, Mark Mason, who was a friend of the family, and gave a statement implicating Lanier. She eventually resolved her charges with a misdemeanor conviction and a sentence of community service. She said the result was “thanks to my lawyer” and not because she had been helped by the prosecution.

Reid admitted it was too dark for him to see the face of the gunman. The sun had set at 8:24 p.m., and the shooting occurred about 8:50 p.m.

On January 18, 2013, the jury convicted Lanier of attempted murder, attempted assault, and the two gun charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In 2015, the convictions were upheld on appeal.

In 2016, Lanier, acting without a lawyer, filed a post-conviction motion for a new trial. He subsequently also filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which was denied. In August 2017, Rensselaer County Judge Debra Young granted Lanier a hearing on his state court petition for a new trial. By that time, Carbonneau had recanted her trial testimony.

In an affidavit, Carbonneau said, “I was interviewed by Detective Mason of the Troy PD about the shooting and I told him several times that I was under the influence of several drugs on [the] evening of May 29, 2012, and that I did not know what occurred.”

“Detective Mason coerced me into signing a statement that indicated that I was an eyewitness,” Carbonneau said. “When I testified at Lanier’s trial, I was told by the police and the district attorney who interviewed me that I would have to point at Shateek Lanier and identify him.”

She stated, “I gave false testimony because of my continued drug abuse and the fear of possible criminal prosecutions against me. I know that what I did was wrong, but at the time I took drugs daily, including the days I testified. I was so addicted to drugs I was unable to make logical decisions.”

At the hearing, which was held in February 2018, four witnesses, including Carbonneau’s father and grandmother, testified that Carbonneau was inside the house when the shooting occurred and did not see the shooting. Carbonneau was sitting on the floor eating spaghetti when the shots were fired. When she got up to go out, she was restrained by her father who told her to stay inside.

Carbonneau testified that on that day she had taken about 20 Xanax pills, taken cocaine, and smoked marijuana. She said her substance abuse problem primarily involved ingesting Xanax and cocaine. She said that she was not in her “right mind” when she took the drugs. She said that when she was called to go before the grand jury, she said she had no memory of the night. She said that Detective Mason gave her a statement to memorize and recite before the grand jury.

Carbonneau said that her testimony at the grand jury and the trial was “based on a statement they made me read and study.” She said that the police should not have listened to her because “I was on drugs. They should not have spoke[n] to me.”

Willis testified that she had no memory of the night of the shooting and no memory of testifying at Lanier’s trial. She said she was using drugs on the day of the shooting and at the time was an addict, an alcoholic, and homeless.

Lanier testified and denied committing the crime. He said that after he was convicted, he found a letter written by the prosecutor to his defense attorney. The letter identified three people who had told the prosecution that Carbonneau was not outside when the shooting occurred. However, none of those witnesses—all of whom testified at the post-conviction hearing—were called to testify at Lanier’s trial.

Moreover, Lanier said that at the time of the shooting, he and his uncle, William Gibson were visiting Lanier’s girlfriend, Brianna Edwards. Neither of them was called as witnesses, Lanier testified.

Gibson testified at the hearing that he was with Edwards and Lanier. He said they were together from about 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. on the day of the shooting.

The defense also had uncovered evidence that Davonte “Ziggy” McGill had been charged in the Reid shooting and had pled guilty to a lesser offense and received probation. McGill provided a sworn affidavit that said, “I do not know Shateek Lanier, nor associated with him in any way, and I have never driven in a car with him.”

Lanier’s trial defense attorney, Cheryl Coleman, testified that at the time of trial, she could not locate Lanier’s uncle. She did not call Lanier’s girlfriend because “there was confusion about both the location and the timeline.”

Coleman said she did not recall—though she did not doubt—that she received a letter from the prosecutor identifying three possible witnesses who could have said Carbonneau did not see the shooting.

Despite the testimony, on August 15, 2018, Judge Young denied the motion for a new trial, citing inconsistencies in some of the testimony as well as Detective Mason’s testimony at the hearing that Carbonneau was lucid, coherent, and not intoxicated when he took her statement.

Lanier’s attorney, Richard Levitt, appealed the ruling. On February 19, 2021, the Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed the denial of a new trial and vacated Lanier’s convictions.

The court noted that Coleman had “made little efforts to reach out” to the three witnesses identified by the prosecution. In addition, the court said, “Other than stating in a conclusory manner that she was unable to locate the uncle, the record fails to show diligent attempts by counsel to reach him. The uncle's testimony would have bolstered the defense by providing the jury with conflicting evidence as to defendant's whereabouts at the time of the shooting."

The court concluded, “In our view, the failure to investigate this potential alibi defense and the witnesses who would have refuted the eyewitness' location at the time of the shooting cannot be considered a reasonable trial strategy.”

On December 8, 2021, after Lanier had rejected several prosecution offers to plead guilty to reduced charges, the prosecution dismissed the charges, and Lanier was released.

– Maurice Possley

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date: 1/31/2022
Last Updated: 1/31/2022
State:New York
Most Serious Crime:Attempted Murder
Additional Convictions:Attempt, Violent, Gun Possession or Sale, Illegal Use of a Weapon
Reported Crime Date:2012
Sentence:20 years
Age at the date of reported crime:22
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No