By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Casey Callahan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree Monday, May 3, in Otsego County Court, ending, for the second time, the criminal proceeding concerning the 2000 death of Callahan’s wife Elizabeth Welsh Callahan.
Callahan, 54, admitted Monday that he backed over his wife with his truck in Sayre, Pennsylvania in 2000, killing her. He told Judge John Lambert, “I intended to cause the death of Elizabeth Callahan and I did so with my actions. I am sorry that it happened. I apologize to her and her family.”
Callahan will serve four to 12 years in state prison, but the term is consecutive, or in addition, to 12.5 year sentence he is currently serving in a state facility for a 2013 sexual assault of a minor.
Callahan had previously been convicted of second degree murder in his wife’s death.
However, in August, the third division of the Appellate Court overruled the decision, saying a piece of testimony against Callahan was inadmissible. District Attorney John Muehl said Monday that the piece of evidence was not objected to by Callahan’s two attorneys at the time, both of whom were experienced, qualified defense attorneys.
Muehl said he thought he could retry Callahan on the second degree murder charge and get another conviction, but the Welsh family does not want to go through another trial.
“It is a sad day, I believe, for the criminal justice division in the state of New York,” Muehl said. “It is a sad day for Elizabeth Callahan’s family. Maybe I will send this allocution to the Appellate Division.”
As part of the plea, Callahan waived his right to appeal the sentence and most aspects of Monday’s hearing, except when allowed by state law. Lambert said his next felony conviction will qualify him as a repeat offender.