On December 16, 2022, Jayson Hooks [also known as Shaquan Riker] was sentenced to seven  years in prison to be followed by five  years of post-release supervision [commonly referred to as parole] by Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Mark J. Caruso. A full order of protection for the victim in the case was also issued for nineteen  years. The District Attorney’s Office recommended the maximum sentence and Judge Caruso sentenced the defendant to the maximum allowed by law.
Today’s sentencing followed a five-day jury trial that began on October 18, 2022, in Schenectady County Court, in which Mr. Hooks was convicted of the Class D violent felony of Assault in the Second Degree, for a crime of domestic violence that occurred in the City of Schenectady on October 30, 2021. The jury also acquitted Mr. Hooks of the Class A misdemeanor of Criminal Mischief in the fourth degree for allegedly preventing the victim from placing a 911 call for assistance. Acting County Court Judge Mark J. Caruso presided over the trial, at which the People were represented by the Special Victim’s Bureau Chief Assistant District Attorney John J. Carson and the defendant was represented by attorney Mark Juda.
The incident took place during the early morning hours of October 30, 2021, while Mr. Hooks was sitting in a vehicle with his then girlfriend. The proof showed that Mr. Hooks became enraged at his girlfriend and repeatedly smashed her in the face with a travel coffee mug. She suffered a broken nose, a hemorrhage to her right eye, bruising, a black eye, broken fingernails, and lost a substantial amount of blood.
The victim disclosed the assault to members of the Schenectady Police Department on November 1, 2021, two days later. The victim’s account was corroborated by photos taken both by the police and herself documenting her physical condition, together with the condition of her blood-stained car, medical records from Ellis Medicine and text messages from the defendant.
At trial Mr. Hooks testified on his own behalf, stating that he accidentally spilled coffee on his lap and flipped the travel mug in her direction which caused her injuries. By its guilty verdict, the jury rejected his version, finding instead that he had intentionally caused her physical injury with a dangerous instrument after deliberating for just over one hour.
The District Attorney’s Office sought the maximum sentence after trial because much of Mr. Hooks’ criminal history reveals a pattern of domestic violence with intimate partners. Because of that history, Mr. Hooks had previously been identified by the Schenectady County High Risk Domestic Violence Team as an individual to be monitored. The High-Risk Team is chaired by the Y.W.C.A. of Northeastern New York, based in Schenectady, and includes members of local police departments, Schenectady County Office of Probation, and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. It is the mission of the High-Risk Team to identify and track perpetrators of domestic violence who are most likely to commit violent acts against intimate partners.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney stated: “We thank the victim in this case for cooperating with our office to secure this conviction. We know it wasn’t easy for her to relive this traumatic event, but she performed an important service to the community by doing so. Even though their relationship is over, Mr. Hooks has shown through his history that he will continue to perpetrate domestic violence against intimate partners. By sharing her own experience with him, she has protected his future victims from harm. It was brave of her to do so.”