A man from Syracuse accused of the murder of Baby Dior; next hearing date in 2 1/2 months
Syracuse, NY – A Syracuse man charged with the murder of an 11-month-old girl appeared briefly in court Thursday afternoon to be arraigned before his trial judge.
Chavez Ocasio, 24, will not be back in court until September 24. But he’s not going anywhere: Another parole violation will keep him in jail until next March, state records show.
Ocasio is accused of being involved in the April 11 car shooting on Grant Avenue that left baby Dior Harris dead. The suspect vehicle has been registered with him, authorities said, and he is accused of being at the scene. It is not known if Ocasio is the accused shooter or an accomplice.
Ocasio faces more than 100 years in prison if convicted of Dior’s death, as well as the attempted murder of four other people in the victim’s vehicle. He did not speak Thursday in court.
One of his lawyers, Ken Moynihan, pleaded not guilty on his behalf. The indictment now sets deadlines for the case to move forward, including a timeline for exchanging evidence and presenting legal arguments in the case.
Moynihan noted that the defense had 45 days to file the first set of legal motions. Typically, this includes asking the judge to review grand jury testimony, scheduling a hearing to review the constitutionality of the accused’s statements to police, and asking the prosecution for further details of the crime. .
Given the scheduling conflicts, Judge Gordon Cuffy decided to postpone the deadlines for the next phase in September. First comes an exchange of written arguments. Then Ocasio will be called back to court at the end of the month.
Moynihan noted Thursday that there is no point in discussing bail now, as Ocasio’s parole violation will keep him in jail, no matter what, for the foreseeable future.
Ocasio spent four years in prison after shooting another teenager in the head at the age of 17. His parole for this case continues until March 2022, according to state prison records. His arrest in the murder of Dior is considered a violation of this parole and will likely not be resolved until he faces the murder charge.
Ocasio was paroled in September 2019 and embarked on a high profile bid to rehabilitate his image, becoming a specialist student at Onondaga Community College and holding several different jobs. He had just emerged from a positive article in official OCC publications when he was arrested for the murder of Dior.
No motive for the drive-by shooting has been made public by the authorities. At this point, there have been no further arrests in the Dior murder.
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Writer Douglass Dowty can be contacted at [email protected] or 315-470-6070.