PLEA DEAL TURNS TABLES

Teen facing murder charge takes plea deal, will testify against alleged cohorts

ROBERT GAVIN STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D1

Date: Friday, January 15, 2010

ALBANY -- King Modest, one of three teenagers charged in the killing of University at Albany student Richard Bailey, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery Wednesday and agreed to testify against his two alleged accomplices as part of a plea deal.


Modest, 18, of Albany faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.


He pleaded guilty during an appearance before acting state Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont. Bailey was gunned down on Oct. 20, 2008.


He now faces 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree robbery. He also agreed to cooperate fully with Albany County prosecutors in their case against his two former co-defendants, De Von Callicutt and Ricardo Caldwell, both 19.


When asked by the judge whether he understood that he had to testify against the other defendants, Modest said "yes."


Modest, known as "Cokilla," served as a lookout during the botched robbery of the 22-year-old student, which was detailed in statements all three defendants allegedly provided to Albany police.


Bailey was from Nassau County and aspired to be a police officer like his father, a New York City cop. He was killed at South Lake Avenue and Yates Street as he walked home.


Modest's attorney, Michael McDermott, said not a day has gone by since the killing that the teen hasn't regretted what happened.


He noted Modest did not have a gun that night and did not want to see anyone hurt. But, McDermott said, Modest was guilty of trying to rob Bailey.


Modest's brother, Daytwan Perkins, 29, said his brother is not the "monster" he has been portrayed.


"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Perkins, who stressed he wanted to express his condolences to the Bailey family.


"We mourn for the family's loss," he said.


District Attorney David Soares and Bailey's parents were in the courtroom. The Baileys were whisked out a side entrance and Soares spokeswoman Heather Orth said the office would not comment on the case.


Bailey's killing went unsolved for nearly a year before police zeroed in on the three defendants.


Modest told police Sept. 10 that he and Callicutt, the alleged shooter, came up with the idea of getting "free money."


Caldwell also implicated Modest in a statement to police.


According to court papers, Caldwell told police that he, Callicutt and Modest were on bikes when they encountered Bailey -- and that he and Modest were lookouts. Caldwell told police he heard Bailey yell. Caldwell said he was looking away when the shot was fired. He said he took off and ran into Modest, who asked "Do you think he's dead?"


According to the documents, Caldwell then returned to his family's Quail Street home, where Callicutt admitted he "smacked" Bailey with the gun.


"I (messed) up, bro," Callicutt allegedly told him. "I hope the (expletive) ain't dead."


Caldwell allegedly told Callicutt to get the gun out of his home and Callicutt said "Nobody better say anything. You say anything, you all going down with me."


Caldwell also stated that Modest said he and Caldwell "weren't going to go to jail for someone else."


"It should come as no surprise to anyone that somebody facing 25 years to life on a murder charge -- who is offered 10 years on an attempted robbery -- would take that plea on the condition that he testify against someone else," said Cheryl Coleman, the attorney for Callicutt. "It should also come as no surprise that (Modest) should be considered bought and paid for and blatantly unreliable."


Coleman argued the bottom line is her client did not shoot Bailey.


Modest was listed last year as an honor student at Albany High School, and before his arrest, he drew attention from Albany Common Council member and former mayoral candidate Corey Ellis.


In 2007, Ellis told Metroland magazine he saw leadership qualities in the youth and wanted to make sure he would not be consumed by the streets.


When Modest was arraigned on the murder charge in September, Ellis said the youth had drifted away from him 18 months earlier.


Modest's sentencing is tentatively scheduled for March 26.


Robert Gavin can be reached at 434-2403 or by e-mail at rgavin@timesunion.com.