By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
WORCESTER – Kenneth Robinson, 53, was killed over $5,000 and marijuana, according to the felony complaint filed against Nicholas Meridy, 32, Oneonta.
“The defendant unlawfully entered the residence armed with a long gun intending to steal $5,000 and marijuana,” the complaint readS. “During the commission of the crime, a long gun was discharged by another participant in that crime, causing the death of Robinson.”
Meridy was allegedly accompanied to the scene by four teenagers, and three of them – two 15 years old and one 17 – were also charged, though as of press time it was not known who fired the fatal shot.
According to BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, Troop C, multiple shots were fired at Robinson. He also confirmed that all the teenagers were known to each other and that one of them had a familial relationship with the victim.
“If you act in concert to a murder, you will be charged even if you’re not the one who pulled the trigger,” he said at a press conference Monday, Oct. 14 at the Oneonta Barracks. “But we have a pretty good idea who shot him.”
A fourth teenager was charged with burglary, first degree.
On Thursday, Oct. 11, state troopers, along with East Worcester and Worcester firefighters, responded to reports of a fire at 162 Head Road, which is south of I-88 near the Otsego-Schoharie county line.
“The first responding troopers saw a man lying just inside his door,” said Heggelke. “The house was on fire, but the trooper pulled him outside, and it was obvious that he was the apparent victim of multiple gunshot wounds.”
According to state police, the fire was set intentionally in the back bedroom. Two of Robinson’s children were in the home at the time of the murder, but police declined to say whether or not they had witnessed the shooting.
The first arrest, a youth, was made just after midnight on Oct. 11 at a residence in the Town of Oneonta.
“We were relying on people to give us information and help us develop the names of the other people involved,” he said.
The vehicle allegedly used to get to the victim’s house was found in Delaware County.
“This was not a random act,” said Heggelke. “The victim was targeted, and at least one of the suspects was a familiar to the victim.”
Police did recover two firearms, but have not determined if they were the guns used in the murder.
“We are confident we have everyone involved,” he said. “But it’s sad. You’ve got kids who broke into a house and killed a man.”
District Attorney John Muehl was due to appear at a hearing Wednesday, Oct. 16, before County Judge John Lambert in Cooperstow.
Muehl said he intends to ask the court that all the suspects be charged as adults. Two are being held at a juvenile facility in Buffalo, and the other two in Syracuse.
Meridy is in Otsego County jail.
It is believed that the teens were students at Oneonta High School.
“As soon as we heard, we assembled our crisis committee,” said Superintendent Tom Brindley. “We’re a tight-knit community, and this could impact our students and staff. We’re taking every measure we can to ensure support is provided to staff and students if they need it.”