ONLY ON CVP: The lawyer for a Cliffside Park gang member headed to trial on charges of breaking an 80-year old Port Authority employee’s jaw during a violent armed robbery in Fairview last summer asked the judge to instruct jurors not to read anything into the Bloods insignia tattoed on his client’s cheek.
“It looks like a musical note to me,” Superior Court Judge James J. Guida told the defendant, 29-year-old Rashon Drone. “What is it?”
“It is a ‘B’ with a 9 and a 3 inside it,” said Drone, whose alias is “Bloody Sincere.”
“What does it mean?” Guida asked.
“Well, judge,” defense attorney Ian Silvera said. “The jury will assume Bloods, Bloods, Bloods. Anyone born in America will know.”
Silvera also expressed reservations about the key witness against Drone, who was with him during the alleged attack. He insisted that jurors be told that the man cut a deal with prosecutors “because he is facing 20 years for a first-degree offense.”
Assistant Prosecutor Yomara Castro objected, saying that such an instruction would be “inflammatory.”
“He hasn’t been convicted of anything,” the judge said.
Although jury selection began today, those involved doubt whether it would be completed before Castro leaves for a conference on July 21.
Guida goes on vacation for two weeks the following week, and Superior Court Judge Patrick Roma retires Aug. 1, leaving only three full-time criminal judges to handle a huge caseload. There are supposed to be six.
A smaller obstacle presented itself when Silvera told the judge he was having trouble finding plainclothes for him to wear, replacing the orange Bergen County Jail jumpsuit, during the trial.
“Mr. Drone is a pretty strapping man. He’s got some muscle to him,” the defense attorney said, “So we are trying to find some shirts and jackets that will fit him.”
Castro said Drone viciously assaulted the Port Authority employee at a bus stop at Desoto Place and Hamilton Avenue on Aug. 13 as the elderly victim was headed to work around 5 a.m.
Seeking safety, the man boarded a bus to Manhattan, then was taken from a Port Authority facility to Bellevue Hospital, where he remained for several days. He later returned home and was under the care of relatives, police told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Three days after the attack, Fairview Detective Capt. Martin Kahn and Detective Jose Rivas — who identified Drone from surveillance videos and interviews — arrested the Englewood native after finding him at a West New York apartment where he’d been living.
They charged him with assaulting the victim during a robbery with “reckless indifference to the value of human life,” and leaving an injured victim incapacitated.
Drone, who remained held on $87,000 bail, has been indicted five times in Bergen County and once in Hudson for robbery, assault, burglary, forgery, theft, weapons charges, and obstruction of police, records show. He has four convictions, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Yomara Castro said.
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