HUDSON — Bail was set at $1,000 for the alleged assailant in a violent assault in the city Monday.
The suspect, Lance M. Fongemie, 35, was arraigned on the charge of second-degree assault, a class D violent felony.
City Judge Brian Herman set the bail amount during Fongemie’s arraignment late Tuesday in city court.
Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka asked for no bail and that the defendant be taken to Columbia County Jail without any possibility of release, given the violent nature of the offense. Fongemie faces up to 7 years in state prison, if convicted.
Fongemie was taken into custody by the Hudson Police Department just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. Fongemie, who is homeless, was found by police crouched in wooded area next to the train tracks in the vicinity of Green Street.
Police are investigating whether bias was a factor in the incident, Police Chief L. Edward Moore said. Further information is expected to be released late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
The alleged victim, Brett Worth, was alert, awake and in good spirits after he was allegedly punched multiple times and called a derogatory word for a gay person Monday night, he said from his hospital bed at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday.
The alleged fight took place on North 2nd Street near Columbia Street at about 7:40 p.m. Monday, according to a statement issued by the Hudson Police Department.
Witnesses said they saw two men arguing in the street before the alleged fight turned physical, according to police. There is no indication at this time that weapons were used, police said.
Police are not identifying the alleged perpetrator because the incident remains under investigation. No charges have been filed as police continue to piece together what happened and gather statements and evidence.
“I don’t want to say anything to compromise the prosecution,” Moore said. “The thing is, the victim is in bad shape, and we are taking our time when it comes to talking to him. We’re going at the victim’s pace.”
Worth and his lifelong friend, Justin Weaver, spoke Tuesday from Worth’s hospital room at Albany Medical Center.
Worth said he was walking out of a store on Warren Street on Monday night when a man called him a f****t. The two argued and the man followed Worth from the store to North 2nd Street as Worth headed home.
While stopped on North 2nd Street, the other man began circling Worth like a shark, Weaver said. Then, the man punched Worth, Weaver said. As Worth went to punch the man back, Worth slipped and fell to the ground, Weaver said.
As Worth was lying on the ground, the man allegedly began to punch Worth. As Worth lost consciousness, the man allegedly kept punching him several times, Weaver said. The man left the scene before police arrived, according to police. Worth was taken from the scene by Greenport Rescue Squad to Albany Medical Center.
The incident left Worth black and blue on the left side of his face and he suffered a broken nose. He was put on medication to control the bleeding in his brain. He has nine stitches above his left eye. He will have to have surgery on his left eye because the bone beneath his eye was shattered, Weaver said.
“They are going to need to surgically implant some sort of plastic apparatus surrounding the area of the eye,” Weaver said. The surgery should prevent Worth’s face from drooping in the future, he added.
On Tuesday, Worth was alert and able to talk to Hudson police detectives, Weaver said.
“He is strong,” Weaver said. “He is definitely a fighter.”
Anybody with information is asked to contact the Hudson City Police Department, Detective Division at 518-828-3388. A video of the incident captured by citizens was turned over to police, Moore said.
So far, police and prosecutors declined to reveal possible charges in the case.
“We’re working very closely with Hudson Police Department,” Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka said. “But, at this time, it is too early to provide any information. The chief was personally brought up to speed after the incident happened and immediately contacted me. He and I are taking this investigation extremely seriously.”
Meanwhile, Worth has received an outpouring of support, not only from the gay community but throughout Hudson, Weaver said.
OutHudson representative and 4th Ward Alderman Rich “Trixie” Volo and First Ward Alderman Rob Bujan and Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner reached out to provide support, Weaver said. Mayor Rick Rector and First Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson each made statements on social media on the incident. Weaver also received dozens calls and texts from community members, he said.
Moved by the show of support from community members, Weaver said, “Nobody is allowing this to happen in this community.”
“We’re very emotional,” Weaver said. “It is very upsetting, especially right after Pride Month. But this is not going to change Hudson or the people of Hudson or the gay community of Hudson. We will all fight even harder to make sure he sees justice.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to email@example.com, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.