Now 26, He’ll Emerge At 46
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Joshua Underwood, 26, will reenter society at age 46 after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter yesterday in a death in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in Oneonta.
The plea in the death of Mark Morrison, 52, was entered before county Judge Brian Burns as the deadline – yesterday – for two plea options was running out, District Attorney John Muehl said today.
Muehl said he offered Underwood and his lawyer, Public Defender Bruce Maxson, two options: second-degree murder, 15 years to life, or first-degree manslaughter at a firm 20 years. Underwood chose the “determinant” sentence, the D.A. said.
Regardless, “we were ready to go to trial,” Muehl said.
According to police reports at the time, Underwood struck and killed Morrison – “with whom he had a relationship,” Muehl said, “which might have been a mitigating circumstance” – in the early hours of the first day of 2017 in the Viewpoint Apartments above the former Java Island store at 229 Main St., Oneonta. The victim was asleep after a New Year’s Eve party, subsequent testimony revealed.
Underwood called the Oneonta police at about 3:30 a.m. from the Mirabito’s on Southside and was taken into custody.
The manslaughter charge reflects that, while “intending to cause serious harm, he killed him,” the prosecutor explained.