The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Testimony of Troy Canty

The following excerpt is included in The Trial of Bernhard Goetz (Aae Films, 1988).

Direct Examination by Gregory Waples:

W: Troy, how old are you?

C: 21.

W: And where are you living at the present time?

C: A rehabilitation center.

W: What kind of rehabilitation center is it?

C: For drugs.

W: How long have you been there?

C: 24 months.

W: In December of 1984, were you in school at that time?

C: No.

W: How far had you gone in school?

C: Completion of the 9th grade.

W: You dropped out after that?

C: Yes.

W: How did you support yourself after you dropped out of school?

C: Robbed video machines.

W: Did you ever go to jail

C: Yeah.

W: Yeah?

C: Yeah.

W: What’s the longest period of time you’ve ever spent in jail?

C: 60 days.

W: And what kinds of crimes were you convicted of?

C: Misdemeanors.

W: and when did you begin using drugs? How old were you, approximately?

C: ‘bout 13, 14.

W: ok, and what kinds of drugs did you use after that?

C: Crack.

W: How much money were you spending on crack?

C: Sometimes $50, sometimes more.

W: Now, when you say $50, was that in one day, or in a week, a month, a year, or what?

C: That would be in a day.

W: Now, December 22nd, 1984 Troy, you remember that day?

C: Yeah.

W: Did there come a time on December 22nd where you met Barry Allen?

C: Yes.

W: What happened after you met Barry Allen?

C: We decided we was gonna go into Manhattan and break into video machines.

W: And what did you do after you made that decision?

C: We bumped into James.

W: You’re talking about James Ramseur?

C: Yeah.

W: What happened when you bumped in to James?

C: He decided to come along with us.

W: Did you meet anyone else that morning?

C: Yes.

W: Darrell Cabey?

C: Yes.

W: What happened.

C: He decided to also come along with us.

W; So that particular day, when you get on the train at 149th street, What happened at 14th Street? Do you remember?

C: Man got on the subway?

W: Do you know who that man is now?

C: Yeah.

W: What’s his name?

C: Bernhard Goetz.

W: Tell us exactly what happened when you saw the defendant get on the train.

C: Well he sat down and gave… well he looked at me and I was looking at him.

W: Was he alone, or was anyone with him, when he got on the train?

C: He was alone.

W: Did you have any money with you that Saturday?

C: No.

W: Now, on that particular day, what was your intention when you realized that neither you nor, as far as knew, any of your companions had any money?

C: Try to get some.

W: Alright, after you saw the defendant sit down, he looked at you and you looked at him, what happened next?

C: As far as I can remember, I walked up to him and asked him, you know, “Can I have $5?”.

W: Did you have anything in your hand?

C: No.

W: And when you were standing in front of him, where were Barry Allen, James Ramseur, and Darrell Cadey?

C: AS far as my recollection, I think they were still sitting down.

W: Alright, what happened, exactly after you spoke with the defendant?

C: He just got up from his chair and said, “You all can have it.”

W: Now describe his body motion when he got up.

C: Well, he got up. He got up and turned his back toward me.

W: and what happened?

C: He turned around, he pulled out his pistol and he fired.

W: Now, how far from the defendant were you at this point?

C: I was six, seven feet.

W: And what happened?

C: He fired, I grabbed my chest and I went to the floor.

W: Now, how many shots did he fire at ya?

C: One.

W: And what happened next?

C: I heard more shots.

W: How many more shots did you hear?

C: Three.

W: Did you see who, if anything or who, if anyone was being fired at?

C: No

W: Where were you at this point?

C: Lying on the ground.

W: And where was James Ramseur, was he on the floor, too?

C: Yes.

W: And where was Barry Allen after the shooting was over?

C: I think he was still sitting in his seat, jumpin’ around, movin’, saying, “It burns! It burns!”.

W: And do you know where Darrell Cabey was when the shooting was over?

C: No. Well, I know he was near the rear of the car.

W: How could you tell that?

C:  ‘Cause his voice came form that direction.

W: And what did you hear him say?

C: “Why did he shoot me? Why did he shoot me?”

S: Objection, your honor.

J: Overruled.

W: Troy, you said you got up and went over to the defendant and spoke to him, right?

C: Yea.

W: Whose idea was that?

C: It was my idea.

W: Anybody encourage you to do it? Any of your companions?

C: No.

W: You take full responsibility?

C: Yea.

W: was it your intention to rob Mr. Goetz?

C: No.

W: Mr. Canty, you were arrested on December 4th, 1984, about three weeks before you were shot.

C: Yes.

W: But you’ve already told us about that case. You received a conditional discharge for staying in the drug program?

C: Yeah.

W: Have you been arrested since then?

C: No.

W: Have you used drugs since then?

C: No.

W: Have you gone back to school?

C: Yes.

W: Uh… Troy, there was one more question I neglected to ask you. When you got up from your subway seat and approached the defendant, why did you approach him?

C: He was closest to me.

W: Thank you, your honor.

Cross-examination by Barry Slotnick:

J: Your witness, Mr. Slotnick.

S: Thank you, judge.

 Mr. Canty, on December 22nd, 1984 when you were aboard that subway train, you weren’t wearing that nice suit, and that shirt, and that tie, were you?

C: No, I wasn’t.

S: I’d like to ask you to look at defense Exhibit C. Tell me if you recognize it.

C: Yeah, I do.

S: Is that a fair and accurate representation of what you looked like on December 22nd, 1984?

C: Yeah.

S: So the photo is the Troy Canty that approached Bernhard Goetz on December 22nd, 1984.

C: Yeah.

S; I mean there was no suit, no shirt, no tie on that day, is that correct?

C: Yes.

S: Tell me, when you entered this rehabilitation program in 1985, did you own that suit?

C: Yea.

S: And you wore it to court today, before the jury?

C: Yea.

S: Mr. Canty, did you ever go to the Bronx-Lebanon Health Center, Department of Psychiatric Care?

C: I don’t remember.

S: Did you ever go any place for psychiatric care?

C: I don’t remember.

S: Well, you know if you went there, they would have kept records, right?

C: Yeah.

S: Do you remember telling them how you attacked a teacher in 1977. Do you remember that?

C: I don’t remember going there.

S: Do you remember attacking a teacher in 1977? Being suspended from school for beating up a teacher?

C: Yeah.

S: After Mr. Goetz shot you, you got a private lawyer, didn’t you?

C: No.

S: You know Mr. Meyer?

C: Yes.

S: Well, in regard to Mr. Meyer he became your lawyer after December 22, 1984, didn’t he?

C: Mmhmm.

S: Didn’t Mr. Meyer bring a suit on your behalf against Mr. Goetz for five million dollars?

C: Yes.

S: And you are now suing Mr. Goetz for five million dollars?

C: Yes.

S: You didn’t drop the suit did you?

C: No.

S: So it’s in your interest for Mr. Goetz to be found guilty of a crime against you, so that you can get some money from Mr.Goetz?

C: Its to my interest to see that justice is done.

S: Who told you to say that?

C: No one.

S: Oh… you just thought of that, is that correct?

C: Yeah.

S: Alright, now during the period since December 22nd, 1984, did you make any money as a result of this case?

C: I don’t remember.

S: Well, isn’t it a matter of fact that the National Enquirer paid you $300 for an interview, remember that?

C: Yeah.

S: Remember telling the National Enquirer, “We learned about taking peoples wallet’s, grabbing gold chains of people’s necks and strong arming people for money.”

C: No, I don’t.

S: By the way, when you did that interview, there was another guy with you, wasn’t there?

C: Yes.

S: What was his name?

C: Barry Allen.

S: Yeah, and essentially you and Barry Allen agreed what you were going to tell the reporter, you were gonna make some money off the National Enquirer, make statements to them, is that correct?

C: Yeah.

S: Do you remember you, or Barry Allen, making a statement, “All four of us gathered around him, standing over him, threateningly, as he looked up at us from his seat, Troy asked him, ‘Mister, can I have $5?’”?

W: Judge, I object.

J: That objection is sustained, please don’t read from an exhibit not in evidence like that, Mr. Slotnick.

S: Mr. Canty, did you testify before the Grand Jury, County of New York, March 21st, 1985?

C: Yea, I testified, I don’t remember what date it was.

S: Di you testify to the Grand Jury under oath?

C; Yea.

S: With the grant of immunity?

C: Yea.

S: And you know what that was, don’t you?

C: I couldn’t be prosecuted for nothin’.

S: Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney, County of New York asked you to testify, didn’t he? Yes or no.

C: I don’t remember.

S: Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney, the County of New York met with you personally, didn’t he?

C: Yea.

S: And when he met with you personally, a petty thief…

W: Objection…

S… Withdrawn.

W: Thank you.

S: Did he ask you to testify in the grand jury?

C: I don’t remember.

S: Did he say it was in your best interest to testify?

C: I don’t remember.

S: Now, the idea of demanding money from Bernhard Goetz was yours.

C: I don’t recall demanding money from him.

S: No? Page 441, when Mr. Waples asked you the following question did you give the following answer in the grand jury? “Question: When you went over and asked this guy for money, or demanded money, whose idea was that? Answer: Mine.” Now do you remember being asked that question and giving that answer?

C: No.

S: Remember on page 404, telling the grand jury that you were so close to Bernhard Goetz that he had to take some steps back, and around, otherwise you would have been right on top of him. Or words to that effect?

C: No, I don’t recall that.

S: So, you remembered it that way then, and differently now?

C: Yeah.

W: Troy, are you proud of the crimes you committed before you were shot two and a half years ago?

C: No, I’m not.

W: Are you proud of the drugs you consumed before you were shot two and a half years ago?

C: No, I’m not.

W: Are you the same person now, that you were in December of 1984?

S: It’s irrelevant, it’s what he was then that counts.

W: Your honor, this is a witness testifying.

J: Overruled, let him testify.

C: No, I’m not.

W: How have you changed?

S: Objection.

J: Overruled.

W: Please answer the question Troy. How have you changed since you were shot?

C: I changed the way I look at things. I deal with my feelings… my emotions better.

W: What have you learned?

C: I learned that life ain’t peaches and cream, somethings you gotta go through you don’t want to.

W: And have you gone through some things that you don’t want to go through again?

C: Yeah.

W: That’s all, your honor.

J: That was brief, re-cross

S: Before you went to the program and after you went to the program, there are two Troy Cantys, correct?

C: Yea.

S: You’re a different person today than you were then.

C: Yea.

S: You were a bad person, then?

W: Objection.

J: Well, for what it’s worth, overruled.

C: I committed crimes.

S: When you testified before the Grand Jury, that was the old Troy Canty, correct.

C: Yea.

S: When you confronted Bernhard Goetz on the subway, that was the old Troy Canty, correct?

C: Yes.

S: You know that when you took the witness stand here today, the district attorney touted you as his champagne star witness…

W: Objection…

J: Sustained…

S: Did you know that as you sit here right now that the district attorney feels that you are a very, very important witness…

W: Objection…

J: …sustained.

S: Do you think you’re an important witness?

W: Objection…

J: …sustained.

S: No further questions.

Judge: Mr. Canty, thank you.  You may step down.