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Jury convicts Roosevelt man of attempted murder; acquits on attempted sexual abuse charge

Ahkhazyah Wright at the Nassau County Court in

Ahkhazyah Wright at the Nassau County Court in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau jury Tuesday convicted a Roosevelt man of attempted murder after a shooting outside a Uniondale house party that wounded two people, but also acquitted him of trying to rape a partygoer .

The verdict in the trial of Ahkhazyah Wright, 19, followed a more than two-week trial in a case that previously drew the attention of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Recent SUNY Cortland graduate Kyle Richard, one of the prosecution’s main witnesses, won a courage award from Biden last year at an annual ceremony that celebrates students who are working to prevent sexual assault.

Richard, 21, of Lakeview, testified that Wright was the gunman who fired a bullet into each of his legs and the person whom a “hysterical” female accused of trying to rape her minutes earlier.

Wright's attorney, Robert Schalk, said he had pointed out in part of his closing argument that the alleged attempted sex abuse victim admitted to intoxication and only recalled being pushed against the bathroom door.

"It's important to note that one of the most serious charges in the case, attempted sexual abuse, that this case was built around, the jury rejected," Schalk said after the verdict, adding that his client would appeal his convictions.

The violence erupted on July 23, 2017, at a party on Maple Avenue that college friends threw, according to prosecutors.

The jury found Wright guilty of three attempted murder counts, two assault counts and a gun charge, while acquitting him of another attempted murder count and an attempted sexual abuse charge, according to the prosecution and defense.

Prosecutors said at the trial that Richard and two male friends heard a woman’s cries for help and forced open a bathroom door to find Wright with one hand around her neck as he fumbled with his zipper.

They alleged the woman, clearly impaired by alcohol or drugs, then said Wright tried to rape her before the trio escorted Wright out of the house.

But outside, Wright pulled a gun from his pants and shot at the trio, with gunfire hitting Richard before the now-former SUNY Cortland football player was able to take cover, the prosecution said.

Wright then opened fire again minutes later when other partygoers arrived back at the house after a deli run, shooting Michael Abiola — another friend of Richard — in the back, prosecutors said.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement after the verdict that both young shooting victims suffered "permanent injuries."

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