Another question arising from Quintin Cross’s document file, regarding the unsolved break-in at City Hall: What happened to the gray sweatshirt?
The first, identified initially by both Officer Nicolas Pierro and Detective John Funk as Cross, was noted in the video as wearing “a light colored hooded sweatshirt.” The second man, whom police identified initially as McClendon, was said to be wearing a “do rag” and “a light colored sweat shirt.” Charges against both men were dropped after a second grand jury refused to indict them.
A report filed by Detective David Miller in the late afternon of the 19th, several hours after Cross had left the station, stated that he and Detective Finn had
checked the alley behind Quinton’s [sic] house. In the Alley and stuffed partially in Quinton’s back yard fence was a grey sweatshirt. Pictures of the sweat shit [sic] were taken and the sweatshirt was secured.
The back yard fence in question is located less than a half-block from the back entrance to City Hall, by which the burglars entered the building.
Asked by this site about the sweatshirt, Cross replied:
That's a great question I wondered about the so-called sweatshirt myself they see a certain sweatshirt on the video and miraculously they find one of a similar nature in my back yard well you are going to have to ask Scali
One other brief mention of a sweatshirt—described as Yankees apparel—is made in an early list of materials missing and collected, with an estimated value of $1. However, it is not indicated if this was the same sweatshirt found in the fence.
A report filed two days later by Officer Daniel Scali stated that on the Sunday night just before the burglary, at about 11:15 pm, the officer
observed McClendon and Cross walking Northbound on 6th Street towards State Street... McClendon was wearing a red due [sic] rag on his head and a multicolored shirt, Cross was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. As I drove past, McClendon turned his face away from patrol...
After that, mentions of sweatshirts then disappear from the record. No further references to a gray sweatshirt have been found in the documents to which this site was provided access —which include extensive legal briefs, evidence reports, checklists, and other “discovery” materials obtained by the defense, along with internal defense documents. Nor is there any indication in the dossier that the sweatshirt was the subject of any forensic analysis.
Cross replied that he was still wearing the same clothes as the previous night. He’s seen on video that afternoon visiting the police station carrying a black-and-white striped sweatshirt (perhaps an ironic fashion statement on prison garb), as opposed to a gray one.
It thus seems all the more unusual, to the lay observer at least, that neither the police, nor the prosecution, nor indeed the defense showed any interest in the gray sweatshirt found stuffed in a fence behind a suspect’s house. It does not appear to have been the subject of further investigation, and did not become a subject of the legal wrangle over the police and D.A.’s office’s failure to turn over evidence, which focused primarily on videotaped interviews as well as finger- and footprint analysis.
Possibly the presence of a gray sweatshirt discarded behind a suspect’s home was deemed too inconclusive to be of any use to either side. Any competent defense attorney would point out that gray sweatshirts are a dime a dozen just about anywhere you go. Yet such evidence could have contributed both to the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence, as well as to the defense’s high dudgeon about being denied access to it. Neither showed any further interest in it, or the photographs said to have been taken of it.
The impression left is that either everyone forgot about it, or else no one wanted to deal with it.
With Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck and District Attorney Paul Czajka recently speaking to the issue of evidence-handling in regard to another failed case in addition to this one, the mystery of the gray sweatshirt seems an all the more timely one to solve.