COOPERSTOWN — Now that the trial of Dylan Robinson has ended in conviction, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he is considering restarting the process against Robinson’s accomplice, Alexander Borggreen, for refusing to testify against Robinson despite making a plea deal.
Muehl said he was satisfied with the conviction, which the jury returned Wednesday, June 23, although he said he was surprised they didn’t convict Robinson of arson.
Robinson was convicted of second degree murder in the Oct. 10, 2019, shooting death of his father, Kenneth Robinson, as well as robbery in the third degree and first degree burglary.
“You have a 15-year-old who killed his father. Nobody takes pleasure in putting a 15-year-old in prison,” Muehl said, calling what Robinson did a “pretty violent crime.”
Muehl said he anticipates a harsh sentence because of the nature of the crime.
Muehl said he hasn’t made a decision on what is going to happen to Borggreen.
“I can make a motion to vacate his plea and his sentence and start over again. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Muehl said. “But once again, we’re dealing with a 17-year-old. They don’t make the greatest decisions, and in reality, him not testifying, other than the fact that he could’ve established for certain for the jury that Dylan Robinson was the one who shot Kenneth Robinson, was almost as good as him testifying.”
The defense attorney for Robinson, Thomas Hegeman, said that the trial “was a tough case.”
“The bottom line is we were offered a plea bargain, my client didn’t like it so we went to trial,” Hegeman said.
The plea deal would’ve been for murder one, with a sentence of 22 to life.
Muehl said the crime was unusual in Otsego. “The last young person I had killed his parents when he was 19,” he said. “In my career I’ve never had anything like this with a 15-year-old.”
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.
The 2A Sanctuary Movement’s effort to banish all gun laws from Otsego County appears at a standstill, at least for now.
“The county board has no real authority or jurisdiction,” county Rep. Dan Wilber, last week, told the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee, which he chairs. “Enforcement is left to the district attorney and the sheriff’s office.”
Wilber said he’s conferring with District Attorney John Muehl and county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. about what comes next.
Meanwhile, he delayed further discussion until the February PSLA meeting, and – picking up on the suggestion of county Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Fly Creek – said he will consider a public forum on the matter for 2021.
For his part, Muehl said later, “I think the county should stay out of it. The courts have found it unconstitutional. I can’t enforce a law that’s been found unconstitutional.”
Devlin said the PSLA Committee is “trying to put this off on John and myself. They don’t know what to do.”
Some PSLA members were expecting a legal opinion from County Attorney Ellen Coccoma on a draft resolution when it met Thursday, Dec. 10, but received a verbal report instead.
“The way I read it now,” she said, the proposed resolution “poses to make a declaration of unconstitutionality about particular laws. That is not an authority that the county board has. Under separation of powers, that decision is given to the courts.”
Muehl and Devlin take an oath “to uphold all the laws of the state,” she added, “which does not allow them to spend money that infringes on their oath of office.”
ONEONTA – Judge Lucy P. Bernier denied Joshua Underwood’s request for a change of counsel during his appearance in Oneonta City Court this morning.
Underwood, who had been arrested and charged with murder in the New Year’s Day death of Mark J. Morrison, 52, had written a letter to Judge Bernier, dated Jan. 8, to request the change, saying his lawyer, Assistant Public Defender James Ferrari, spoke to the press after he asked him not to.
“Mr. Ferrari is an experienced counsel,” said Bernier. “I see no basis to this claim, and am denying this request.”