State Board Says Wounded Youth Appeared to Be a Robber
Jan. 12, 1987
NEW YORK (AP) _ The state Crime Victims Board has ruled that Troy Canty was trying to rob Bernhard Goetz when Goetz shot Canty and three other youths in the subway two years ago.
The ruling was issued June 18 by Diane McGrath, one of five commissioners on the board, in denying a claim for compensation filed by Canty. Word of the ruling was first reported in the Daily News on Monday.
Mrs. McGrath said she did not know how her decision became public, but said she was not upset by it.
''It is a public record,'' she said. As for its possibly influencing Goetz's trial for attempted murder, she said:
''One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. The rules that govern our board are different from a criminal proceeding. Ours work on a preponderance of evidence, not 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'''
Angelo Petromelis, another board member, said another of the youths wounded by Goetz, Darrell Cabey, also has applied for victim compensation.
''I closed his case without prejudice to being reopened after the trial. I didn't render a final decision,'' said Petromelis.
Goetz, whose trial for attempted murder was expected to start next month, has maintained that he shot to protect himself from a robbery.
Acting Justice Stephen Crane has begun screening jurors for the trial, whose start has been delayed because Goetz's lawyer, Barry Slotnick, is on another case.
Petromelis said that when a claim for compensation comes to the Crime Victims Board, it is assigned to a single commissioner for disposition.
The board does not act as a body, except when a decision is appealed. Then three members sit as an appeals panel, he said.
''I think it's very significant that they haven't appealed the decision,'' Mrs. McGrath said in a telephone interview.
She said she made her ruling on Canty after charges against Goetz had been thrown out, a fact that she said influenced her.
After charges against Goetz were reinstated, Canty could have appealed her ruling, she said.
Mrs. McGrath's ruling on Canty's claim said:
''After a thorough review of the file including information supplied by the Police Department of the City of New York and statements made by the victim, it appears that the victim was in the process of robbing the alleged perpetrator at the time he was shot. Therefore he cannot be deemed the innocent victim of a crime.''
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has not commented on the ruling. Slotnick said the ruling ''makes it clear that Goetz was the victim'' and he planned to use the finding at the trial.
Goetz shot Canty, Cabey, James Ramseur and Barry Allen on a subway in lower Manhattan on Dec. 22, 1984, after they allegedly approached him and asked him for $5.
Cabey was paralyzed by his wound and suffered brain damage. The other three have been convicted of other crimes and are serving sentences.
A grand jury declined to indict Goetz on anything more serious than a weapons charge a month after the shooting, but another grand jury, after hearing that Goetz shot Cabey a second time as he lay wounded, returned attempted murder charges. A judge threw out the indictment in January 1986, but it was reversed on appeal.