Erin Rhynes of Geneva was found guilty of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, second-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm and third-degree criminal possession of narcotics in the Geneva shooting of Michael Cosentino.
CANANDAIGUA — An Ontario County jury found Erin Rhynes guilty on all counts in the shooting of Michael Cosentino, who will spend the rest of his life suffering brain damage from the three bullets Rhynes fired into the back of his head.
The jury began deliberations at 10:18 a.m. Tuesday, and by 2:20 p.m. the final note to State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran was delivered announcing a verdict.
"Guilty,” the jury foreman repeated on every count.
The top two counts alone, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, are all class B felonies with a potential sentence of 10 to 25 years.
The family of Cosentino, present throughout the trial, wept at the announcement.
Rhynes, for the first time since his arrest, had nothing to say, and just hung his head as he stood at the table alongside his defense attorney, David Morabito Sr.
Through the day of deliberations the jury submitted four requests to review and have charges re-read. They also asked to see the video showing Rhynes being read his Miranda rights.
“Geneva Police worked tirelessly on this case,” said Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride. “It was really through their police work we got this verdict.”
Geneva City Police say that Rhymes put the bullets into the back of Consentino’s head over an approximate $700 debt over drugs.
"At the announcement of the verdict my initial reaction was that I’m happy for Michael and his family,” said MacBride, who delivered a powerful closing argument to the jury. “It’s been a difficult year for them. I’m thankful to the jury for giving the victim and his family justice."
The case isn’t over: Rhynes' previous co-defendant Timetheus Merritt soon will start his trial, in which he is facing weapon possession charges. According to police, Merritt was holding the shooting weapon in his house.
"Rhynes shot a totally defenseless unarmed man, left him to bleed out in the driveway and then runs from the scene like a coward.” said MacBride. “There’s a sense of relief and appreciation for the family and this holds the person accountable for what occurred to Mike. It’s a miracle Mike’s alive."