News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Joshua Underwood

Cameras Set Stage, Helped Solve Killing

Cameras Set Stage,

Helped Solve Killing

Joshua Underwood is led into Otsego County Court by Deputy Leigh Prostak ahead of a hearing last December. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Otsego County’s first slaying of 2017 – on New Year’s morning – happened in an Oneonta apartment with a surveillance camera in every room.

The cameras helped put suspect Joshua Underwood, 25, in the victim’s room, and help convict the man, said District Attorney John Muehl.

Underwood was convicted Friday, March 30, to 20 years in jail.

“Witnesses said they got into a fight about Joshua Underwood having a girlfriend,” said Muehl. “Morrison went to bed, and on video, we have Underwood checking on Morrison. Shortly after that, the video went out, and that’s about the approximate time Morrison was killed.”

Underwood Gets 20, Perry Offered 25

UNDERWOOD

GETS 20 YEARS

Perry Offered 25 In Parents’ Slaying

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Joshua Underwood plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will serve 20 years in prison.

ONEONTA – Joshua Underwood, 25, who plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the New Year’s Day death of his boyfriend, Mark Morrison, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Otsego County Court.

Officials say around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 1, 2017, Underwood called 911 and reported that he had killed his boyfriend, 52-year-old Mark Morrison of Oneonta. Police found Morrison dead in his Main Street apartment from what was later ruled to be blunt force trauma to the head. Police also alleged that Underwood tried to conceal the crime by stuffing the apartment doorway with newspapers and setting them on fire.

Though originally scheduled to be sentenced in mid-December, Underwood tried to withdraw his guilty plea for first-degree manslaughter, claiming he was coerced by the public defender’s assistant assigned to the case.

After Pleading Guilty In Slaying, He Demurs

After Pleading Guilty

In Slaying, He Demurs

Underwood Claims Poor Representation

Joshua Underwood is led into Otsego County Court this morning by Deputy Leigh Prostak. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

By PARKER FISH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Appearing in Otsego County Court today, Joshua Underwood, 26, withdrew his guilty plea in the New Year’s Day slaying of Mark Morrison, 52, in a downtown Oneonta apartment.

He appeared before county Judge Brian Burns, who read his statement into the record that claimed inadequate representation from Otsego County Public Defender Bruce Maxson, and asked for a new lawyer.

Underwood Murder Case Goes To County Court

Oneonta Murder Case Goes To County Court

ONEONTA – The Otsego County grand jury has indicted Joshua P. Underwood, 25, on charges of murder, second degree, and attempted arson, District Attorney John Muehl confirmed this afternoon.

Underwood was charged in the death of Mark J. Morrison, 52, on New Year’s Day in Oneonta. The case will now be tried in Otsego County Court.

Accused Killer Appears In Court

New Year’s Day Murder

Accused Killer

Appears In Court

Otsego County Corrections Officers K. Leigh Prostak, John Hoke and Jason Ritton escort Joshua P. Underwood into Oneonta City Court this morning. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Weeping, shaking and making a small wave to family gathered in the courtroom, Joshua P. Underwood, 25, made his first court appearance since his Monday morning arraignment on the charge that he bludgeoned Mark J. Morrison, 52, to death on New Year’s Day.

Victim Identified In New Year’s Day Death

Investigation Continues

POLICE IDENTIFY

MURDER VICTIM

ONEONTA – Police have identified Mark J. Morrison, 52, as the victim of the murder in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

Morrison was found deceased in his bed at 229 Main St., where police said they went after the suspect arrested in the case, Joshua Underwood, 25, told them he believed he had killed Morrison.

The subsequent investigation revealed that Underwood had used a heavy weight to strike Morrison several times, causing his death, police said.

Suspect Held In New Year’s Death

POLICE: MAN, 25, CONFESSED

Suspect Held In

New Year’s Death

Joshua Underwood

ONEONTA – A 25-year-old Oneonta man called police and confessed to killing his friend in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, Oneonta Police report.

At 3:30 a.m. today, officers met Joshua P. Underwood at the Mirabito on Southside after Underwood called 911 and said, “I think I killed my friend,” the OPD reports.

Underwood was taken to the station.   Officers were sent to 229 Main St. where they report finding a 52-year-old male dead from “blunt force trauma.”

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