A Groton man accused of shooting at two men in July — wounding one — was released Tuesday because witnesses who identified him to police would not testify before a grand jury, Cortland County’s district attorney said.
Robert S. Bailey, 40, of 7 Short Road, had been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies; prohibited use of a weapon, a misdemeanor. He was accused of shooting one man and shooting toward another on July 25 after they didn’t stick up for a female acquaintance of Bailey, court documents show.
Defense attorney Luke Fenchel sought in Cortland County Court to order the release of Bailey following the more than 45 days since Oct. 4, the date of continuation for COVID-19 state of emergency declaration by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which prevented any modifications or suspensions of state law due to the pandemic, according to court documents.
Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti told Fenchel and Judge David C. Alexander that he was not opposed to Fenchel’s request.
Perfetti said after Tuesday’s court appearance the case wasn’t able to be brought before a grand jury because witnesses were unwilling to testify.
Alexander granted Bailey’s release from Cortland County Jail.
A 19-year-old woman said someone stole $120 that she had accidentally left in a fanny pack at a home on Vennette Street. A disagreement over who took the money preceded the shooting and the victim said someone struck her. The owner of the fanny pack called Bailey, who arrived to help her.
“I heard Rob say something like, ‘So you guys were standing right there when my kids got hit and ain’t do nothing.’” she told police. “Right after he said that, I saw Robert Bailey raise the gun and began firing from left to right and then back left. I believe he fired five times, but I can’t be exactly sure.”
Police responded at 12:52 a.m. July 25 to the area near 60 Central Ave., the Cortland County Office Building, for a report of multiple shots fired, Cortland police said. When they arrived, they found a man who had been shot once, police said. The victim, Anthony Bryant was later taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.
Witnesses identified Bailey as the shooter, and he was arrested later that day during a traffic stop in Groton.