The mother of a slain Afghan war veteran on Friday blasted a plea deal that has released a woman implicated in her son’s murder as an “absolute disgrace.”
Mother Madeline Brame called it “prosecutorial misconduct” to offer a plea deal that would allow Mary Saunders, 41, to stab her son Hason Correa, 35, in Harlem in 2018.
“This is an absolute disgrace, an atrocity, a miscarriage of justice,” Brame told the Post.
Brame said that the Manhattan Attorney’s Office — which is prosecuting the case against Saunders, her two brothers and a friend — didn’t call her to a meeting until the woman struck a deal that would have her murder charge reduced to second-degree assault.
“If I had known about the hearing sooner…I would have been in that courtroom and I would have raised hell,” Brame said.
Saunders – who had already served 14 months in prison on the case – was sentenced to a year in prison for her role in Correa’s death on October 19, 2018. Since Saunders was in prison, she doesn’t have to serve extra time.
“A year for murder? This is so disrespectful and dishonoring my son’s military service in this country. It’s so insulting, it’s so insulting,” the mother said.
At the time of the murder, authorities claimed Saunders was attempting to pin the 35-year-old married father of three while her brother repeatedly stabbed him in front of his father, Wesley Correa.
But on Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Dafna Yoran said Saunders only kicked Correa once and tried to hit him, but it “does not appear to cause any harm.”
One of her brothers, James Saunders, pulled a knife and stabbed Correa nine times without Mary’s knowledge, prosecutors said.
“People don’t think we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mary Saunders knew her brother had a knife or that she shared an intent to kill Hason Correa,” Yoran told the judge.
“There’s video of everything that happened, shot by shot,” Brame said. “Mary Saunders was significantly exposed to this brutal, heinous crime. She was a full participant.
Mary was the only one of the four defendants to be released from prison in 2019 after a judge reduced her bail because she has no criminal record and is a mother.
Her brothers – who have been on the run for almost a year – are currently being held without bail pending their murder trials.
Stewart – who has been in prison for four years – also struck a deal on Thursday for attempted gang assault and is due to be sentenced to seven years in prison on June 29 under a deal with prosecutors.
When asked for comment, the prosecutor’s office cited Yoran’s testimony in court Thursday.
“People met with Ms. Madeline Brame, the victim’s mother, on May 17, 2022 and informed her of our decisions regarding these injunctions,” Yoran said in court. “We tried to explain the reasons and show Ms. Brame the video compilation of the incident.”
“We have also assured Ms. Brame that we will be taking her son’s stabber and his brother to justice, both of whom are charged with murder,” the prosecutor said in court.
Mary’s attorney Laura Stasior said: “As we have previously said, based on a thorough review of the evidence, the district attorney and the court agree that this finding is consistent with Ms Saunders’ involvement in the case under applicable law.
“This is supported by witness statements, video footage, medical reports and other relevant material. All too often, our clients are overstretched tactically to promote the prosecution advantage in the courtroom, especially early in a case.”
“Ms. Prosecuting Saunders on the original charges would simply have been unfair,” Stasior said.
US Congressman Lee Zeldin, in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul who opposed bail reform legislation, also criticized Mary and Stewart’s pleadings and the prosecutors’ “disastrous handling of this case.”
“Sergeant Correa has had his future stolen, and now the criminals who stole a fulfilling life from him are being given a free pass,” Zeldin said
https://nypost.com/2022/05/20/slain-war-vets-mom-blasts-mary-saunders-plea-deal/ Murdered veteran’s mother scraps Mary Saunders’ plea deal