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The Syracuse Post-Standard, NY
Friday, January 4, 1991
Author: JOHN O’BRIEN The Post-Standard
Michael Giles admitted Thursday he murdered two people last year in a wild shooting spree on a crowded city street.
His motive remains a mystery. “That’s the thing that’s bothered me all along”, said Giles’ lawyer, John Centra. “We don’t have an answer. Mr. Giles doesn’t have any idea why he did what he did.”
Giles, 34, the former superintendent of Roosevelt Arms apartments, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder for shooting to death Shari Robinson and Willie Brown.
In exchange for the guilty plea, County Judge J. Kevin Mulroy agreed to sentence Giles to 20 years to life in prison. Had Giles been convicted of the two murder counts plus an attempted murder charge for wounding Evelyn Shepherd, he would have faced up to 58 1/3 years to life in prison.
Robinson, 28, had rejected Giles’ romantic advances. He shot her on the afternoon of May 15 in the head, neck, face and chest after she got off a bus outside the South Salina Street apartments.
Giles then turned his .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle on bystanders.
Brown, 44, was a disabled Roosevelt Arms resident and Giles’ friend. Giles shot and killed him, then shot Shepherd in the neck as she stood at a bus stop.
During his guilty plea, Giles told Mulroy he didn’t know who he was shooting when he fired at Brown, only that it was a human he was trying to kill.
Giles fired at least 15 rounds, stopping once to reload an ammunition clip, police said. He didn’t stop shooting until the weapon jammed, police said. Giles then calmly put down the rifle and raised his hands to be arrested.
“He started shooting, basically, at anything that moved,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Price said. Price said he had a theory on Giles’ motive that he would have presented at a trial. But he would not disclose it Thursday.
Giles had a history of being treated for mental problems related to depression and alcoholism, Price said. Seven hours before the shootings, Giles had checked out of the Veterans Administration Medical Center and called his mother, who lives in Alabama.
“Today is going to be one of my bad days,” Giles told his mother.
Centra said Giles has no clear recollection of the shootings.
“He just snapped,” Centra said. “He went back to the apartment, lay down, took medication, drank a beer, felt tormented inside and didn’t know what to do, grabbed a gun, and went outside. The next thing he remembers is the sun being in his eyes.”
Price said he has no sympathy for Giles.
“I have sympathy for three people, two of whom no longer reside on this earth,” Price said. “That’s where my sympathies lie.”
In offering the reduced sentence, Mulroy said he considered Giles’ history of mental problems, and reports from two psychiatrists and a psychologist who examined him.
A defense psychologist found that Giles was suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time of the shootings, preventing him from realizing the nature and consequences of his actions or that they were wrong. But Giles was not suffering the mental disease just before or after the shootings, according to the psychologist, Norman Lesswing.
Lesswing found Giles was affected by his ingesting an unknown number of over-the-counter pain relievers and two beers before the shootings, Price said.
A defense psychiatrist, however, found that Giles was not suffering from insanity. A prosecution psychiatrist agreed.
Centra said he had a good argument to make for Giles’ suffering from an extreme emotional disturbance at the time of the shootings, which would have reduced the murder charges to first-degree manslaughter. But those convictions would’ve carried a possible maximum sentence of greater than 20 years to life.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.
Record Number: 9101040138
Copyright, 1991, The Herald Company
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Killer of 2 Draws 20 Years — (New York Times)
Published: January 18, 1991
SYRACUSE, Jan 17— A man who killed two people and seriously wounded a third during a shooting spree on a busy street last year was sentenced today to 20 years to life in prison. The defendant, Michael Giles, 34 years old, of Syracuse, apologized for his crime, saying he had tried to get help for psychiatric problems but never had received the help he needed. He pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to two counts of second-degree murder.