Prosecutors have charged the younger brother of a road rage suspect, admitting the wrong man was arrested following an incident last December in which one of the drivers was severely beaten.
Rakeem Scott entered a not guilty plea to Second Degree Assault in Erie County Court Monday morning. He's accused of confronting Matthew Rudy on Walden Avenue on December 18, pulling the latter from his car and punching him in the head up to 30 times.
Cheektowaga Police originally arrested and charged Maurice Scott, 31, in the case but on Monday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn explained that further investigation led his office to realize the wrong man had been arrested and charged.
Flynn noted a very close similarity in features of the two brothers, despite their age difference. He also explained that the original investigators were led to arrest the older brother based on the information they were receiving.
"They were able to track down the vehicle that was used, and they tracked it down to an address, and Maurice Scott lived at that address," Flynn said. "They went and questioned Maurice Scott and Maurice Scott kind of gave some inconsistent statements. He had access to the car because he lived at the address where the car was registered."
Flynn added that two of three civilian witnesses to the encounter picked out Maurice Scott from a photo lineup.
In court, prosecutors noted that Rakeem Scott does not have a criminal history. He was identified as the proper suspect, Flynn explained further, when two women who were present in the car were located and interviewed. One of them, according to the DA, did not necessarily cooperate.
"One of them kind of gave us a difficult time," he said. "I ended up getting a material witness warrant against her and basically forced her to come down here and talk to us. She did. And so this case was put in a grand jury and I believe the right person has now been indicted."
Bail for Rakeem Scott was set at $50,000. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
Charges against Maurice Scott, meanwhile, will be dropped in Cheektowaga Town Court Tuesday morning. He has been free on bail since his arraignment.