Target of one shooting pleads not-guilty to another

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica man who police said fled from bullets in 2008, crashing a car into a Utica business, and was the target of a May shooting has pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting a man in the jaw, neck and legs.

Pernell Flanders was in Oneida County Court on Tuesday, where he entered his not guilty plea to the charge of second-degree attempted murder.

According to prosecutors, on June 26, Flanders, 22, fired a .22 caliber rifle and a .380 caliber semi-automatic at a man named John Thorington, 26, on Brinckerhoff Ave and Leah Street in the City of Utica. Thorington was hit in the neck, shoulder, legs and jaw.

Flanders not only faces the charge of attempted murder, but also second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree reckless endangerment, and first-degree assault.

It is not Flanders first run-in with the law. In December 2008, Flanders faced charges after driving a car through the walls of North Country Books on Lafayette Street around 4:30 a.m. while he fled from gunfire at the then-Backstreet Brewing Company nightclub in the Charlestown Plaza, just on the outskirts of the city.

That night, Thorington told police that Flanders had stolen the car that ended up in the book company building. However, while he told police of the theft, Thorington was not the owner of the car.

Flanders was the target of a shooting, himself back on May 27, 2010, when Kwamae Smith, 20 fired ten rounds from a handgun into a car parked near Schuyler Street in Utica. Several people, including children were in the car at the time of the shooting.

Police said that Smith's intention that night was to kill Flanders. Since then, Smith has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon after turning himself in to authorities following a search that included a feature as a "Fugitive of the Week."

On Tuesday, August 17, 2010, the Oneida County District Attorney's Office extended a plea offer to Flanders, who now has until the end of the month to make a decision on the offer.

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