Prosecution rests in trial against Zachary L. Clark

(Sara Stedman, senior investigator of the New York state Police Department).

Prosecution rested its case Friday morning in the Cortland County trial against Zachary L. Clark.

Clark, 27, of Elm Street in the city of Cortland, has been accused of shooting city police officer Chad Knapp three times on March 27 of last year, which led to a 12-hour standoff. Clark surrendered the following day before 8 a.m.

Clark has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the second degree, attempted assault in the first degree, two counts of menacing a police officer or peace officer, and aggravated assault upon a police officer.

He has also been charged with assault in the third degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, prohibited use of a weapon and two counts of menacing misdemeanors in the second degree.

A couple of witnesses were called upon to testify for the defense Friday afternoon, and will continue into Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Prosecution brought in detective sergeant Daniel Rathbun of the Syracuse City Police Department Friday morning. Rathbun led a special weapons and tactics unit into the middle of the standoff taking place on Elm Street, and was tasked with targeting the location of Clark.

Rathbun, who was a sniper at the scene, arrived with his team at 1 a.m. March 28. In his testimony, Rathbun noted Clark “wasn’t pulling up his rifle” and was “holding the rifle still in his house.”

“I was told if you have a shot, take the shot,” he said if the situation intensified.

(Daniel Rathbun being shown the rifle Clark used).

Rathbun mentioned Clark was “climbing over debris from a dismantled porch.” Clark was also repeatedly hitting a key fob to a black Jeep near the residence on Elm Street, Rathbun added.

Later on, Clark walked over to the Jeep, unlocked it, put his rifle in the backseat and surrendered, Rathbun said.

Prosecution capped its array of testimonies with Sara Stedman, senior investigator of the New York state police department. She led the forensic investigation of the crime scene on March 28 of last year in the aftermath of the incident.

In her testimony, Stedman confirmed a variety of bullets and shell casings at the scene. She noted that 48 items were collected as evidence, including the magazine attached to Clark’s rifle that was “found lying in the street.”

Stedman’s investigation also collected one of the .22 caliber bullets from the rifle that was removed from Knapp’s body during surgery. Her investigation included Clark’s black Jeep with the rifle in it, and Knapp’s patrol car with bullet holes in the windshield.

(Sara Stedman holding up the magazine from Clark’s rifle that was collected as evidence).

Defense brought back Stedman Friday afternoon for an extension to her previous testimony. Defense attorney Madeline Weiss questioned if Stedman knew of any other aspects of the incident.

“I only know what happened at the end, not the incident in its entirety,” Stedman replied.

The Cortland Voice will provide updates of the trial when it resumes on Monday.