SARATOGA SPRINGS — The man accused of attacking another man with a machete plead guilty in Saratoga County Court on Monday, June 24.
Russell Duffney, Jr., 46, of 149 Grand Avenue, Saratoga Springs, pleaded guilty to second degree assault, a Class D violent felony.
Duffney was arrested April 9 following the attack on a man who was attending a cook out at Duffney’s residence on Grand Avenue. The house was later at the center of a drug bust when Saratoga Springs police, the New York State Police and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration raided the home and arrested several residents for dealing drugs.
Police say that on the day of the cook out, Duffney came outside the house to attend the cook out and became involved in an argument with one of the attendees. The victim stepped in between Duffney and the other guest to try and stop the argument and that is when Duffney struck him with a "dangerous instrument" on the side of the head. At the time of the incident, the victim and the witnesses said Duffney used a three-foot long machete and caused injuries that at the time were called “serious.”
The victim was taken to the hospital where he was treated for cuts to his ear which required stitches to sew up. He also sustained abrasions and brusing to his face and cheek area.
The police had initially charged Duffney with first degree assault due to the amount of blood lost by the victim and the belief the injuries were serious. Doctors later said the injuries were not as serious as first thought and the victim has since made a full recovery.
The police initially also believed Duffney had used a machete in the attack, but the weapon was never recovered. Some witnesses to the attack described a 36" machete while others described a stick, a board, a piece of paneling or a wooden object. Other witnesses who lived at the 149 Grand Avenue address refused to cooperate with police. No machete, knife or sword like object was ever recovered despite the SSPD searching the area and neighborhood thoroughly. A piece of paneling was recovered that is approximately three feet long and tapered like a machete was recovered. Doctors later confirmed that the victim’s wounds were consistent with the piece of paneling that was recovered.
In addition, because the victim had been drinking at the time, he gave conflicting accounts of the assault.
"The victim, unfortunately, did not have as clear a memory about the assault as he would have had due to his unrelated voluntary intoxication at the time," said Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III, adding that Duffney is expected to receive three years in prison and five years on parole after his release. "Most importantly Duffney is no longer a resident of 149 Grand Avenue which was recently raided by law enforcement and that building has been condemned by the city. I know from speaking to the people who live in and around Grand Avenue and Beekman Street that they are relieved to have the drug traffic that was going on in their neighborhood gone and Duffney removed from the street for a long time."