A Magistrate Court judge said this morning that there is enough evidence against a Harlem teen accused of murdering his friend for the case to proceed with prosecution in Superior Court.
Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge Jason Troiano said at the preliminary hearing that investigators have sufficient probable cause in the case against Lacy Aaron Schmidt, 14, to bind over to Superior Court for further investigation and prosecution of a murder charge and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Schmidt, of the 1400 block of Miles Road, is accused of fatally shooting his neighbor and friend Alana Calahan, also 14, inside her Miles Road home on Jan. 31.
Alana’s 18-year-old sister, Amanda, arrived at home that day and found Schmidt’s shoes by the front door, a chair knocked over in the dining room and a pool of blood on the floor, according to an investigator’s testimony at the hearing. Schmidt then ran inside, saying that he couldn’t find Alana and that he saw a man running away.
“He kept maintaining there was a second person,” Columbia County sheriff’s Investigator Brian Jones said of Schmidt’s first of many versions of the events surrounding the shooting.
The Harlem Middle School eighth-grader was shot from behind as she sat at a computer in the dining room, according to police. She was dragged outside, across the backyard and onto a wooded trail.
During questioning, Schmidt changed his story many times, claiming at first he searched for the suspicious man near the Calahan home. Finally, he told police he was fumbling with the 9-mm handgun belonging to Alana’s father when it went off.
“He was all over the place,” Jones said. “He said it was an accident. As a result of what happened, he panicked.”
Police found the gun in nearby woods. They also found the gun case and box of ammunition under a bathroom sink off Schmidt’s bedroom at his home, Investigator James Edmunds said. The gun’s owners manual was found in his dresser drawer and several items missing from the Calahan home, including a digital camera and MP3 player were found inside his bedroom.
Schmidt was a family friend of the Calahans.
“They said he was over there almost every day,” Edmunds said.
On Friday, a Superior Court judge denied bond for Schmidt, who will remain jailed at the Regional Youth Detention Center awaiting trial.