Mother of slain Army veteran says family wasn’t consulted when accused murderer had charges downgraded

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The mother of a U.S. Army veteran who was brutally stabbed in Harlem in 2018 says Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg denied the family a chance to deliver a victim impact statement during the accused killer’s plea and sentencing in May.

In an open letter, Madeline Brame, the mother of Sgt. Hason Correa, said Bragg’s office "chose not to meaningfully consult our family that you were going to dismiss the murder charges against two of the people that murdered my son, until after you agree to that deal with the attorneys representing the defendants."

Correa, who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, was stabbed to death in Harlem on October 19, 2018, by two brothers, their sister, and a fourth man. The men remain behind bars but the woman, Mary Saunders, was granted bail last month.

Brame said she had been assured that her sentencing would take place in June, providing her an opportunity to deliver a Victim Impact Statement. But Saunders' plea and sentencing ultimately took place on May 19, 2022 – a date, Brame said, she was unavailable due to family obligations.

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"Why did you not want the Judge to hear our voice? Why did you not want the public to hear what our family thought about the dismissal or murder charges against two individuals who, the prior administration and homicide prosecutors said, were clearly responsible?" Brame wrote. "More, why would you dismiss murder charges against half of the participants, when the murder and their roles were caught on video?"

Brame accused Bragg of marginalizing victims and their families, while "contributing to plummeting New York City into chaos and higher crime" since he was sworn in on January 1, 2022.

"The video, the facts, the evidence, and the law about the murder did not change in three years – the only thing that changed was the District Attorney," she said. "Our family and our community deserve better."