Dwayne Henderson, age 26, of Uniondale, New York, Danny Harrell, age 21, of Hempstead, New York, and Dieago Harrell, age 19, of Hempstead, New York were all sentenced today following a trial that resulted in their convictions on May 4, 2023. Both Dwayne Henderson and Danny Harrell were sentenced to the maximum allowed by law on a number of charges that amounted to indeterminate sentences of twenty five (25) years to life in prison. Dieago Harrell was sentenced to a total of ten (10) years in prison.
Dwayne Henderson and Danny Harrell were convicted on May 4, 2023 of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, and two counts of Kidnapping in the First Degree, all class A felonies that carried a maximum indeterminate sentence of twenty five (25) years to life in prison, which the judge did impose. They were also convicted of three counts of Assault in the First Degree, class B violent felonies, which carried a maximum determinate sentence of twenty-five (25) years as well as five years of post-release supervision, which the judge also imposed. All sentences will run concurrently with one another as a matter of law. Henderson was additionally convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, which carries a maximum determinate prison sentence of twelve years in prison, since he was sentenced as second felony offender, and the judge imposed a sentence of nine (9) years in prison. Dieago Harrell was convicted of two reduced counts of Kidnapping in the Second Degree, class B violent felonies, which have a potential maximum determinate sentence of up to twenty-five years in prison and the Court imposed a sentence of ten (10) years. He was also convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C violent felony, which carries a maximum determinate sentence of fifteen (15) years and the Court imposed a sentence of ten years. Lastly, he was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Firearm, a class E felony, which carries a maximum indeterminate sentence of one-and-one-third to four years, which the Court did impose. All sentenced will run concurrently. After trial, Dieago Harrell was acquitted of two counts of Kidnapping in the First Degree.
The convictions stem from the events of October 25, 2021 at around 11:00 am when the three defendants abducted the victim while outside his Schenectady house. The victim had previously driven Henderson to the hospital the day before when Henderson complained of stomach pains. Henderson entrusted the victim with a large bag of drugs that was to be given to his co-defendant, Danny Harrell. Both men ultimately came to the conclusion that the victim stole the drugs, and, with the help of Dieago Harrell on October 25, 2021, they kidnapped the victim and brought him to 1315 Albany Street. There, Henderson and Danny Harrell kept him in excess of twenty-two (22) hours, where they beat the victim, stomped on his head, and encouraged a dog to bite him a number of times. These beatings were apparently an attempt to cause the victim to turn over the stolen drugs, however, the victim maintained that he had delivered the drugs to Danny Harrell as instructed by Henderson.
Police were first alerted to the situation the night of October 25, 2021 when a good Samaritan in Nassau County alerted local authorities of a disturbing video she saw on Snap Chat, a popular social media and video sharing app and took a screen shot of the video. Officers applied to Snap, Inc., the company that owns Snap Chat, for an exigency warrant for the username and account information of the user who posted that video. Upon receiving the account information from Snap, Inc., which included the latitude and longitude locations for where that user had signed into his account, Nassau Police determined that the video had been recorded in Schenectady, New York and that the user’s name was Danny Harrell. They contacted the Schenectady Police Department and relayed the information that they had learned along with the video. Schenectady Police were quickly able to rule out an Emmett Street address that Danny Harrell had previously given to police as the location where the video was filmed. By contacting known associates of Danny Harrell, police were informed that Danny Harrell often stayed at 1315 Albany and then subsequently confirmed that portions seen in the video were consistent with that location. Police made entry into the house at approximately 9:45 am on October 26, 2021 and found the victim still alive in the condition depicted in the video.
The Snap Chat video given to the police shows Danny Harrell encouraging his dog to bite the victim, proclaiming “tear him girl,” as the victim rolls around on the ground in agony begging to make the dog stop biting. Meanwhile, Henderson is seen kicking the victim and beating him with a large pipe. Henderson ultimately stomps on the victim’s head several times until the victim’s body goes limp, apparently unconscious. Captions Danny Harrell placed over the video state that the dog latched back onto the victim followed by several “laughing emojis.” The video goes on to show several updates on the victim’s condition over the following hours, which show the victim’s condition progressively getting worse over time. A video posted approximately ten hours after the victim was abducted, shows the victim naked, covered in blood, and in the fetal position on the floor with several large gaping wounds on his left arm. Danny Harrell, while filming, is seen asking for his dog’s paw, praising her, and then asking “do you want to bite him?” He then makes sure the victim is awake and pans the camera over the victim’s injuries, proclaiming “she sure got you” and gave a taunting “whoop-whoop.” During a search warrant of the apartment, the victim’s clothes were found discarded in the trash outside. Snap Chat messages between Danny Harrell and his friends also indicate that Harrell was going to shoot the victim.
When police made entry into the house the next morning, all three co-defendants were found in the apartment, along with a female who Danny Harrell had apparently spent the night with. Henderson was found in possession of approximately thirty grams of crack cocaine, as well as the victim’s driver’s license, bank and benefits card, vehicle registration, and the title to the victim's truck. A pistol was found under the mattress in the room Dieago Harrell was staying in. The victim was taken to Albany Medical Center, where he was found to have suffered a severe head fracture, a broken sternum, and dog bites all over his body. Of the dog bites, the ER doctor who testified at trial said “it’s difficult to describe in perfect detail because of the level of trauma.” He also had elevated creatine levels, which are indicative of severe muscle trauma, in this case likely caused by the dog bites and the victim was treated for infection.
The victim was only located due to the quick work and cooperation between the Nassau County Police and the Schenectady Police. Both police departments worked diligently in the morning hours of October 26, 2021 to find the victim and to save his life.
The sentencing was presided over by the Honorable Matthew Sypniewski, who also presided over and decided the trial. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Nicolaus McDonald and Leah Nelson with a great deal of assistance from DA Investigator Anthony Brown. Attorney Genaro Callabrese represented Dwayne Henderson, Attorney Nancy Tang represented Danny Harrell, and Attorney Rebecca Whiteman represented Dieago Harrell.