Murder or self-defense? Albany man faces new charges

Murder or self-defense? Albany man faces new charges

ALBANY — An Albany County prosecutor told a judge Wednesday that Laquan Fallen confessed to killing Czsar Lewis — a shooting that the defendant’s attorney suggested was an act of self-defense.

Fallen, who turned 24 on Christmas, pleaded not guilty before Superior Court Judge Roger McDonough to a superseding indictment charging him with second-degree murder and gun possession. Police and prosecutors allege Fallen shot Lewis once in the chest at Central and Robin streets on Oct. 2 around 7:25 p.m.

The victim, an Albany High School senior known as “CJ,” would have turned 25 on Thursday.

The charge of murder, upon conviction, is punishable by 25 years to life in prison. Prosecution evidence includes video surveillance of the area, Fallen’s words to detectives in a taped interview and other remarks in a taped phone call, according to their court statements and court documents.

“This defendant confessed to shooting the victim once,” Assistant District Attorney Stephen Lydon told the judge.

Assistant Alternate Public Defender Tim Berry, Fallen’s attorney, told the judge there was “enough evidence” to suggest his client could argue the shooting was legally justifiable. The lawyer pointed out that only one gunshot. And Berry said surveillance video showed Lewis “running down Central Avenue” and showed him removing his backpack and putting it in when he was shot.

Berry mentioned that his client’s father — 39-year-old Lashon Turner — was killed just 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 occurred.

The judge asked Berry if his client had a pistol permit; Berry declined to answer. In court documents, police said the defendant did not have a gun permit.

Berry asked the judge to release Fallen under the supervision of probation officers and subject to electronic monitoring. Lydon objected to the defendant’s release.

During an interview that lasted several hours, the prosecutor said Fallen never indicated that he saw Lewis with a gun or any other type of weapon.

An Albany County grand jury indicted Fallen on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, but did not reach a verdict 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 remain held in the Albany County Jail without bail.

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