Six months after a Riverhead teen’s arrest over an alleged robbery, the felony charge filed against him was reduced to a petit larceny and immediately dropped in town court last month, according to court documents and clerks.
A supervisor for the teen’s Legal Aid attorney said he could not disclose why the case had been dismissed, due to legal protections sealing the young man’s criminal record. Prosecutors did not respond to numerous requests for comment on the case.
On Dec. 11, 2013, 18-year-old Julian Williams was arrested and accused of robbing a man at gunpoint along with two other people on Delores Avenue, sending nearby Riverhead schools into lockdown, according to a police press release at the time.
Police said Mr. Williams was spotted after police searched the area, and a search of the area around his house revealed “the guns that had been used in the robbery,” according to the press release. Mr. Williams was arraigned on Dec. 12 and held on $150,000 bail.
But a week later, Mr. Williams was released from jail on his own recognizance, a town court clerk said. He was never indicted by a county grand jury.
Mr. William’s father, Julian Wright, said in an interview that his son returned home after being released from jail.
Mr. Wright said his son told him he was innocent, but left the house soon after arriving; he hasn’t contacted his father since, Mr. Wright said.
Mr. Williams didn’t appear to either his court appearance in January or his appearance in February, court clerks said. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest, but he wasn’t apprehended.
Then, during a court appearance on June 11, the felony robbery charge against Mr. Williams was dropped to misdemeanor petit larceny in his absence and dismissed, according to court documents.
Sabato Caponi, a supervisor with the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, declined to comment on the case.
Since the case had been sealed following the dismissal of the charges, Mr. Williams’ defense attorney, Dan Ginty, could not discuss the specifics of why the charges were dropped without his client’s permission, Mr. Caponi said.
Mr. Williams could not be located for comment.