So, putting all this together it was being alleged, and it appeared, as if Sephora had driven these various individuals around at various points in time while they attempted to rob some marijuana dealers near the SUNY campus in Geneseo.
This was completely false and a deliberate deception of me, and all Sephora’s previous attorneys, by police and probably prosecutors, whose provision of document discovery was, shall we say, very selective. But I didn’t know that for sure for more than two years, as a result of the deception itself.
But we’ll get to all that, God willing and assuming I don’t run into any technical difficulties.
When confronted with this evidence Sephora’s response was that what she knew had been described in her unsigned statement dated December 22nd, which was true except for the names of the two individuals she identified. She had identified the wrong individuals, she maintained, because in the week or so after the event she and her younger sister had been contacted on a number of occasions by Adrian Paige and his girlfriend and told to give those names instead of the true ones. The true individuals she drove around were Adrian Paige and Shaun Theriault.
What about Harder? Harder, she said, had never been in her car. She did not know him “…at all, whatsoever.” The first and only time she had ever seen him was when their pictures appeared together in the newspaper after they had both been arrested on January 23, 2004.
Now, you have to read Harder’s statement several times. It seems to describe at least two attempted robbery events but it’s not clear how one led to the other or when and how the changes in personnel he describes took place. This imprecision appeared unremarkable and likely due to low intelligence and fuzzy recollection. The basic facts that were relevant to the charges against Sephora – that she picked him up at work in Leicester, with Adrian and Shaun, and drove the group to Geneseo from there, seemed solid and corroborated by the other accounts. And of course it strongly implicated Sephora in the robbery, as an accomplice. The “wheelman”, as it is sometimes described.
Harder’s statement also marked Adrian Paige as the ringleader for the crime. And it indicated that Sephora and Adrian had remained in the car, parked off site, while Harder and Theriault did the actual robbing. This aspect was also corroborated by numerous other items of evidence, including statements from the victims, which described only two males who had held them up.
Then there was the item of the walkie-talkies. One victim’s statement had described hearing a female’s voice emanating from the walkie talkie, telling the two robbers to “hurry up” and asking “what’s taking so long?” while the crime was underway. It was natural enough to infer that this was Sephora’s voice, although there was another female participant indicated by Harder’s statement. This female was identified elsewhere as a young woman named Mechal Fuoco. Mechal had been Sephora’s closest friend since they were in the second grade together. But according to Harder’s statement, although it really isn’t all that clear, Fuoco had been involved only in some earlier burglary incident – not the robbery – and it appeared from his statement that she was not present or involved in the later robbery for which everyone was charged.
Given all this evidence and Sephora’s own account, the idea that she had not knowingly participated in the robbery as the “wheelman” seemed quite unlikely. How does someone bring a shotgun into your car without you seeing it? Possible. Not likely.
Not to mention, even if everything Sephora is saying was true, there was plenty of evidence from which a jury could conclude that it’s not true. And if they can conclude that, they probably will.
Then there was this insistence that Harder had never been in her car. This would contradict the accounts of everyone else in a position to know: Harder, Paige and Theriault, plus the account of the seemingly independent witness, William Annis.