Indictment accuses ex-Albany lieutenant of stealing jewelry from man he shot

TROY — Michael S. Barone, a retired Albany police lieutenant who also is an attorney, was arraigned on weapons and robbery charges Monday after a grand jury indicted him for allegedly shooting and robbing a friend last year in Rensselaer.

Barone’s attorney Michael McDermott entered a not guilty plea for his client to felony counts of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault before Rensselaer County Court Judge Debra Young. When Barone was arrested in October, police charged him with attempted second-degree murder but the grand jury did not file that charge.

At one point during Monday’s arraignment in Rensselaer County court, McDermott put his hand on Barone’s shoulder to quiet him.  Barone spoke directly to judges from the defense table in past appearances.

The indictment arises from an Oct. 19 confrontation in which Barone was charged with shooting Michael Brothers, 35, in the leg inside Brothers’ apartment. Barone of Colonie befriended Brothers, a convicted felon and admitted pot dealer, after meeting several months earlier at a strip club. The indictment accuses Barone of taking a watch and a bracelet from Brothers.

In the hours before the shooting, Barone, 55, initially came to Brothers’ aid after his friend told him he had been robbed in a home invasion. Brothers said Barone later accused him of lying, shot him and then drove him to Albany Medical Center Hospital, according to court papers.

In a statement, Brothers said he reached out to Barone after three men, including one to whom he wanted to sell marijuana, robbed him at gunpoint in his apartment of $1,200 and four ounces of marijuana.

Brothers told police he could not reach Barone, so he drove to his home on Central Avenue in Colonie.

“I told Mike what happened,” Brothers said. “Mike got his gun, vest, gas mask and tactical pants on. Then both of us got into his (Mercedes) SL 550 and went back to my place.”

Hours later, Barone allegedly shot Brothers. Rensselaer police originally charged Barone with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and possession of a weapon.

Young extended the order of protection for Brothers at the request of Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Brendan Cranna. Due to potential conflicts of interest, Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka was named special prosecutor for the case, which his office is now handling.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly’s staff had involvement with Barone in Albany County. Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hauf previously worked in the Albany County District Attorney’s Office on cases in which Barone testified as an Albany police officer. Assistant District Attorney William Andrews ran for Albany County Family Court judge in which Barone also was a candidate.

Young continued Barone’s $25,000 bail. The judge reminded Barone to show up for court. Barone had arrived late to his arraignment wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.

McDermott declined to comment on the case.