A mother whose Army vet son was stabbed to death in Harlem in 2018 ripped Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in an open letter over his decision to offer plea deals to two defendants in the case.
Madeline Brame, who sent the letter to Bragg and Gov. Kathy Hochul, claims the DA didn’t communicate with her before they decided to offer the plea deals, which let one of the defendants off on time served.
“You violated my rights as a crime victim to be fully informed, and to be heard,” Brame wrote in the letter sent Thursday.
“Why would you dismiss murder charges against half of the participants, when the murder and their roles were caught on video?”
Brame’s son Hason Correa, a then-35-year-old married dad of three, was allegedly beaten and stabbed to death in October 2018 by a group of assailants – Travis Stewart, Mary Saunders and her two brothers, James and Chris Saunders.
At the time, authorities alleged that Mary, 41, had punched and kicked Correa before trying to pin him down while her brothers stabbed him and then chased after him when he attempted to escape.
However, during a May court hearing, Bragg’s prosecutors said they didn’t think they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mary had intended to kill Correa, or that she knew her brother had a knife.
Prosecutors argued that Mary’s behavior that night “supports her contention” that she did not intend to murder Correa and that the evidence showed her presence “was not a determining factor” in the vet’s death.
As part of her plea agreement, Mary pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of felony assault and was allowed to go free on time served after she spent a year in jail as the case played out in court.
Stewart was permitted to plead guilty to attempted gang assault, and is slated to be sentenced to seven years behind bars on June 29 under a deal with Bragg’s office.
Brame slammed Bragg’s team, saying prosecutors didn’t consult with her before downgrading the charges. Prosecutors met with her at their Manhattan office to tell her about the plea deal two days before it was finalized in court, but did not consult with her before the decision was made.
“You and your office chose not to meaningfully consult our family that you were going to dismiss the murder charges against two of the people… until after you agreed to deal with the attorneys representing the defendants,” Brame wrote in the missive.
“Why did you not want the Judge to hear our voice? Why did you not want the public to hear what our family thought about the dismissal of murder charges against two individuals who, the prior administration and homicide prosecutors said, were clearly responsible? ”
While the grieving mom didn’t get the opportunity to speak during the plea deal hearing where Mary was convicted, prosecutors there noted that Brame was “not in agreement with this disposition.”
“[Brame] is opposed to it and believes Ms. Saunders should be prosecuted for murder… and should be remanded, ”Assistant District Attorney Dafna Yoran said during the hearing.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office pointed to past comments prosecutors made in court but noted both James and Chris Saunders are being held without bail and will face trial for Correa’s murder in the coming months.