NORWICH – Two men accused of plotting to kill Norwich Police officers walked away from City Court Monday afternoon with the charges against them dismissed.
Mathew C. Smith, 27, of the Elmira and Norwich area, and Robert W. Gallo Jr., 25, of 22 Sheldon St., were accused last week of conspiring to kill Norwich Police Officer Reuben Roach and his father, retired Norwich Police Chief Murray Roach.
After nearly two hours of testimony by a single witness, District Attorney Joseph McBride asked the court to dismiss the charges when her story fell apart on the stand.
The only witness called during the felony hearing was Gallo’s neighbor, Thendara Hyder Hartwell, 33, of Sheldon Street. Under oath, Hartwell told the district attorney she had mistakenly identified Smith as being involved in the alleged murder plot. “Mr. McBride, I can’t lie. That’s not the man,” said Hyder.
Later, McBride told the court that the evidence against Gallo was dependent on evidence associated with Smith, and asked for the charges to be withdrawn against both defendants.
Hartwell’s original statement to police claimed she overheard conversations involving Smith and Gallo in which they allegedly talked about killing police officer Roach. She also told the court she overheard them saying that if they couldn’t get to Roach, then they would go after his father and family because Roach was helping to “take out all their key players.”