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Teen pleads not guilty in NYC shooting over 'Biggie' coat

By Elizabeth Dilts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City teen accused of shooting two people over a trendy puffy coat at a crowded midtown Manhattan skating rink pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to attempted murder and other charges.

At the arraignment of Cory Dunton, 16, in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, a prosecutor said both of the male victims, ages 14 and 20, were struggling to recover from injuries suffered in the November 9 shooting at the ice rink in back of the New York Public Library.

The younger victim remains hospitalized and unable to move from the waist down, said New York Assistant District Attorney James Lin. The other victim, shot four times, still has bullets lodged in his spine and leg and has been unable to go back to work at a fish market, Lin said.

Judge Renee White denied bail for Dunton after prosecutors said he posted several threatening messages on Facebook before his arrest on November 10, including one that said: "I'm going out with a bang."

Standing beside Dunton, who wore a black sweatshirt and whose hair was disheveled, defense lawyer Sam Roberts of the Legal Aid Society dismissed the online posts as the remarks of a scared teen.

Dunton, who has been in custody since his arrest, was charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon, two assault charges and reckless endangerment. If convicted of all charges, Dunton could face up to 25 years in state prison.

Police believe Dunton was aiming for the older victim because he wanted his coat, a $600 winter jacket made by outdoor gear maker Marmot that is nicknamed the "Biggie".

The coat has a violent reputation in New York. In 2010, a Bronx teenager was struck by two cars and killed while fleeing a gang trying to take his "Biggie", according to media reports. In January, a 16-year-old was shot after refusing to give up his "Biggie" coat to a gunman in Manhattan.

In a hand-written statement Dunton gave to police, which was attached to his criminal indictment, the accused gunman expressed remorse for the latest violence.

"I never thought I'll see this day where my life is shattered and I have shattered a young boys life as well," Dunton wrote in the statement.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)

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