Muehl, Maxson Deliver Opening Arguments
As Otsego County Court Proceedings Start
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – District Attorney John Muehl didn’t mince words this morning in his opening statement in the murder trial of Casey Callahan, formerly of Goodyear Lake, now an Attica inmate.
“I can kill someone and get away with it,” Muehl said. “I’d take somebody for a ride, stop at the Dandy Mart just off Route 17, just inside Pennsylvania, and run them over. They’ve got a Mayberry police department. They’re understaffed. They wouldn’t investigate an accident. That’s what they’d call it – an accident.”
Those were the exact words, he alleged, that Callahan said to his brother-in-law and a friend at a job site “September 9 or 10, 1999,” four months before his wife, Elizabeth Welsh Callahan, age 34, died at Dandy Mart #19 in Sayre, Pa., just off Route 17’s Exit 59A at Wilawan, west of Binghamton, on Jan. 19, 2000, after being run over by Callahan’s flatbed truck.
Though the Sayre police initially ruled her death an accident, last June, after a renewed investigation by Muehl’s office, Callahan was arrested and charged with her murder. Muehl believes that Callahan devised the plan to kill her while in Otsego County.
“This is a case about jurisdiction,” said Bruce Maxson, the public defender assigned as Callahan’s counsel, in his opening remarks to the jury. “I want you to keep that in mind. You will also find that this is a tragic accident, not a crime.”
The trial is expected to continue throughout the week. Judge Hon. John F. Lambert is presiding.