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Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Tough Holiday

Just a month ago as Christmas approached, a quiet Wynantskill neighborhood was shocked as a well like and respected resident was brutally murdered while walking his dog. On that evening State and Town police walked the streets in search of a still at large killer.  They were joined by Sheriff's deputies with a trained dog trying to pick up the trail of the killer.

Days after the crime police made an arrest and the suspect is still being held on a parole violation. He has not yet been charged with the murder. Many have asked why the delay in charging the suspect?  Our best guess is that police are waiting for the new District Attorney to decide on the appropriate charges through a Grand Jury indictment. This would ensure that the DA is comfortable prosecuting the charges as his office would ultimately decide what the correct charges are.

Anyone who follows politics knows that there is no such thing as a sure thing in a prosecution where guilt must be proven to the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt".  Even with a seasoned DA's Office, convictions are not always won and anytime you have a new DA elected with newly hired assistants, there are additional challenges.

Currently there are three high profile murder cases on the agenda of this District Attorney on top of the normal workload.  Some years back when a North Greenbush Councilman was charged and tried for the murder of his wife, the trial turned out to be a nail biter. The hold over assistant DA was allowed by the newly elected DA, Mary Donohue to try the case. The defense attorney was E.Stewart Jones, a defense heavyweight in the Capital District.  Thank god the evidence was so convincing.

While we are not privy to the evidence obtained in this case, we do know that State and Town police walked and re-walked every inch of the neighborhood.  They went door to door interviewing every neighbor and all in each house. And they redid the effort along with phone calls in case anyone remembered anything new.

One other thing is worth mentioning. Police never left the neighborhood that night.  No one knew where the killer was, if he was hiding nearby or perhaps in a someone's home. Police went door to door during the late hours knocking on every door, insisting on an accounting of everyone inside to be certain no one was being held.  You could see and sense the fear as an officer would place one hand on a side arm while waiting for residents to come out to safety.

Those actions are the only reason people got any sleep that night as the crime scene remained protected all night and into the next day. You got a real appreciation for the dangers faced by police officers. There is a lot of gratitude around here as a result. Please keep Bill and his family in your prayers.

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