A friend of LeSean McCoy’s ex-girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, accused the Buffalo Bills’ running back of a horrifically violent attack that allegedly left Cordon hospitalized and bloodied. Beyond the claimed domestic violence she suffered at his hands, further assertions, by way of Instagram, lobbed at the athlete included the beating of his son, the pummeling of a pet dog and steroid use. Hours after the social media post, McCoy assertively denied the accusation and went as far as denying any physical, aka, “direct.” contact with Cordon for months prior. The question remains, however, if McCoy’s response that he had no contact with his ex doesn’t hold water, or corroboration exists as to these serious allegations, what charges could he face if he intentionally inflicted what appear to be quite frightening injuries on Cordon’s face? Even assuming probable cause does not exist to arrest McCoy or proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict him of any crime as to Cordon, what is his exposure to crimes involving his son and animal cruelty?
As you read this brief analysis, remember the following: McCoy deserves the same due process and presumption of innocence anyone of us are entitled. Speculation is a powerful tool to condemn others without knowing the facts and evidence. This blog entry is not meant to further that speculation but to provide insight into and about the New York Penal Law in the domestic violence and animal abuse context.
Depending on the extent of the alleged injuries suffered by Cordon and the means by which they were inflicted, McCoy would be exposed to a degree of Assault as set forth in New York Penal Law Article 120. Anytime one intentionally causes a physical injury to another person – a bloody swollen lip or bruised cheek – and the victim of the attack can articulate this caused them substantial pain, an accused faces arrest for Third Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.00(1). This offense is a class “A” misdemeanor punishable by as long as one year not in prison, but in a county jail. The crime is elevated to a felony fairly easy depending on different theories and subsections of Second Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.05. For example, was a “dangerous instrument” used to cause the physical injury? Such an object could be a cell phone to strike another in the face or the corner of a wall to slam his or her head. “Dangerous instruments” may not be dangerous standing alone, but how they are used in a weapon-like manner elevates the crime. Another theory could be premised on a higher level of physical injury along with an intent to cause a greater “serious physical injury” as defined by the New York Penal Law. This type of harm might lead to disfigurement and long term impairment of one’s health. A class “D” violent felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, there are other potential applicable subsections of this crime. Lastly, if it is alleged that McCoy intended to and in fact caused a serious physical injury with a weapon, for example, then the crime is raised further to First Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.10. This offense, a class “B” violent felony, is punishable by a mandatory five year minimum with a maximum sentence of twenty-five years.
Another possible crime or set of offenses, depending on what is alleged, includes Second Degree Strangulation, a class “D” violent felony, and Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, a class “A” misdemeanor. The former and more serious of these crimes, New York Penal Law 121.12, criminalizes an intentional blocking of a target’s breathing and putting pressure on another’s neck while causing any degree of stupor. The latter, New York Penal Law 121.11(a), makes it a criminal offenses to apply pressure to the throat or neck of a victim with the intent to impeded the flow of their oxygen or blood.
While there may be other potential crimes, Menacing for example, from the description shared in the Instagram post, these offenses seem to be the most viable assuming, and this is a only an assumption, that the accusation is valid.
Moving to the allegations involving McCoy’s son and dog, those might be more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt even if probable cause ultimately exists. Depending on the nature of the allegations and corroboration, just as with Cordon, any intentional infliction of a physical injury as to McCoy’s son is, at a minimum, the crime of Third Degree Assault. Further, evidence could establish that due to his violent actions against his son, McCoy committed the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, New York Penal Law 260.10.
Henry the dog, however, legally cannot be the victim of these same offenses no matter the extent of the injuries. Right or wrong, Henry is “property.” That said, New York State does have a cause of action to criminalizing wanton attacks on animals. Two of the more common New York Animal Abuse crimes are Agriculture and Market Law sections 353 and 353-a[ii],Overriding, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, respectively. The former crime is a class “A” misdemeanor and the latter is a non-violent class “E” felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Without going into the weeds, a person is guilty of the lesser offense if he or she “only” cruelly beats his or her dog, for example, while the felony conduct occurs where there is “aggravated cruelty” and you intentionally cause a serious physical injury in your actions.
Ultimately, what if any, charges are brought, whether McCoy is arrested, or if a case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, time will tell. Will Cordon come forward and “press charges?” Will the local District Attorney open a Grand Jury investigation and subpoena victims, witnesses, medical records and even those from the veterinarian clinic if it can be ascertained? Can a case be circumstantially built? Even though McCoy says he has had no direct contact with Cordon over the past few months, has had indirect communications that may reflect an apology or acknowledgment of what may be an older incident? All of this said, the Instagram post came from a friend, not Cordon. Will McCoy come out further blazing with a threat of a defamation suit to clear his name?
The answers to all these questions will play out soon enough…
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors.