Pacherille : "I shot Mr. Lippitt because he was African American"
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - A local story that has made news nationwide, may be doing so once again. That's because on Friday afternoon, a Cooperstown teen admitted in court the reason he chased down a fellow classmate and shot him was because that teen is black.
Anthony Pacherille, now 17, was just 16 last April 2, when he stopped his vehicle right next to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, got out with his rifle in hand, and chased fellow 16 year old Cooperstown High School student Wesley Lippitt into the Cooperstown Police Station.
Pacherille shot at Lippitt twice, hitting him once in the arm. Then, he turned the rifle on himself, shooting himself in the chin. Both boys survived and both were in court Friday afternoon. The courtroom was packed with family members and more than a dozen classmates sitting behind each teen in support.
Otsego County Court Judge Brian Burns denied WKTV's request to videotape the proceeding, but Pacherille told the judge "I shot Mr. Lippitt because he was African American."
Members of Pacherille's family shouted "that's a lie," and one uncle was even thrown out of court for his outburst.
The Pacherilles believe Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl forced the teen to say that in order to get the 11 years instead of the possible 25 to life. Muehl said the evidence showed the attack was racially motivated and he wanted Pacherille to admit it in order to get the lead deal of Attempted Murder in the 2nd Degree instead of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree committed as a hate crime.
So, although he didn't plead guilty to the hate crime, he did admit in court his reason for targeting Lippitt was because of race. Muehl says the evidence of racism stemmed from a statement Pacherille gave police after the incident, as well as a diary Pacherille wrote in that was turned over to the authorities by Pacherille's family.
Pacherille is due in court on July 22nd where he will be sentenced to 11 years in state prison.