Man pleads guilty in hate crime

SARANAC LAKE – A local man has pleaded guilty to his role in a racially-charged assault outside a Saranac Lake bar last fall.

Bernard McCormick, 29, of Saranac Lake, was indicted in March on a charge of third-degree assault as a hate crime, a felony. He had initially pleaded not guilty but entered a guilty plea to the charge Thursday in an appearance before Franklin County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr.

McCormick is one of two people village police arrested in their investigation of a melee that took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 28 on Bloomingdale Avenue outside Romano’s Saranac Lanes.

The Enterprise published two letters from eyewitnesses to the incident, including one from a woman who said her husband, who is African-American, was jumped by a “group of guys and was hurt to the point of going to the hospital and getting five stitches on his face.” She said racial slurs and death threats were made during the confrontation.

McCormick was wanted on a warrant for failure to appear in court and was arrested during Thursday’s drug sweep at an apartment at 155 Broadway. Police found him hiding in a closet in an apartment there, according to village police Chief Bruce Nason.

After his appearance before Judge Main Thursday, McCormick’s case was adjourned for sentencing Nov. 4.

The other defendant in the case, Monroe Gladd III, 36, was sentenced earlier this summer to six months in jail and five years probation after pleading guilty to the same charge as McCormick.