Buffalo teen indicted on murder of youth football coach

Jason Washington faces life in prison for murder of Norzell Aldridge

Mike Baggerman
November 08, 2019 - 12:44 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) -  A Buffalo teenager was accused of the murder of a youth football coach at Emerson Park and faces life behind bars if convicted of the crime.

A grand jury indicted Jason Washington of the murder of 36-year-old Norzell Aldridge after a youth football game on August 31.

According to prosecutors, Washington, 17, saw a friend of his being pummeled by a man after the football game and intervened by putting a gun to the man's head. He pulled the trigger but the gun didn't fire.

Aldridge, who just finished coaching at-risk youth, tried to stop the fight.

"He sees Washington trying to shoot the guy who's beating his buddy up and the football coach now intervenes in that," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. "The football coach is holding the helmet at his head and swings at him to stop shooting. I believe he hits him in the head with it. Jason Washington then turns and, this time, the gun works. It doesn't misfire. He shoots Mr. Aldridge and kills him."

Washington was also charged with attempted murder after his gun misfired. In a separate indictment, Washington was charged with an August 6 assault when he allegedly fired eight rounds into a group of kids at McCarthy Park. Seven of those shots missed but the one that hit the group of kids shattered the ankle of a victim. He was arrested in October and has been in police custody since.

"(Aldridge) was a guy who was a football coach in the inner city trying to help inner-city kids stay off the street," Flynn said. "There's a lot of youth football coaches in the county...These kids right here who Mr. Aldridge is coaching have unique needs. They have neighborhoods that are not the neighborhoods I grew up in in East Aurora...They are neighborhoods where a youth coach has a added element to their life."

New York's "Raise the Age" did not take effect until October. However, because the alleged murder happened before the law took effect, Washington will be tried as an adult. Flynn said that although he would have needed to jump through extra hoops, he would have still been able to try the teenager as an adult because of the crimes he's accused of.

Washington was also charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. He is scheduled to return to court on December 3 and was remanded without bail.

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