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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Killer Ricky Knapp Dies In Prison

Killer Knapp Dies In Prison;

Guilty In SUNY Coed’s Death

Ricky Knapp

ONEONTA – Ricky Knapp, the man convicted of the 1977 death of SUNY Oneonta student, has died in Mohawk Correctional Facility, according to prison records.

Knapp, 66, died March 8, having served 40 years of a 25-to-life sentence for a 1978 manslaughter conviction in the death of 18-year-old Linda Velzy, a SUNY student from Long Island. According to reports, Velzy was last seen Dec. 9 1977, hitchhiking in downtown Oneonta.

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/

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to

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



Perry Offered 25 In Parents’ Slaying

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to

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.


Morris Mourns

A pair of angel wings hang on the school sign as more than 200 community members gathered at the steps of Morris Central School this evening for a candle light vigil in remembrance of Jacelyn O’Connor. Pastor Brad Keator of the Chenango Christian Church led the gathered in prayers and singing “Amazing Grace”. Friends, family and classmates shared  memories of Jacelyn after releasing heart-shaped balloons into the sky. (Ian Austin/
Others In House When Girl Was Murdered, DA Alleges


DA: Others In House

When Girl Murdered

Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding
James R. Brower

NORWICH – Other people were present in the house while Jacelyn D. O’Connor, 11, was allegedly raped and smothered, according to Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride.

The names and ages of those present were not given during a hearing for Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding, 34, Norwich, where the DA charged him with murder in the first degree in O’Connor’s death and remanded without bail.The felony complaint lists him as “acting in concert with another in the course and commission of rape in the first degree.”

11-Year-Old Morris Girl Murdered, Police Say

11-Year-Old Morris Girl

Murdered, Police Say

NORWICH – State Police are investigating the murder of an 11-year-old Morris girl at a home in Norwich.

Jacelyn D. O’Connor, Morris, was found dead after state police responded to a report that a girl had suffered a heart attack at a home at 961 County Route 33, Town of Norwich.  Further investigation determined O’Connor was the victim of a homicide, according to the Troop C press release.

Man In Custody For Murder In New Lisbon


Man In Custody For

Murder In New Lisbon

NEW LISBON – Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies have taken a man into custody following the death of a 63-year-old man at his home in the Town of New Lisbon.

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. said that a call came in to Otsego County 911 around 8:45 p.m. and that deputies were sent to the scene, where they found the 63 year old man deceased of a suspected homicide. A suspect was later taken into custody.

This is a developing story,

please check back for details

Suspect Held In New Year’s Death


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.”




D.A. Says Former Goodyear Lake

Man Killed Wife In Pennsylvania

Casey Callahan
Casey Callahan

COOPERSTOWN – After 16 years, Casey James Callahan, 50, has been arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, Elizabeth.

Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl annouced a few minutes ago he believes that Callahan, a Unadilla native, originated the plan to kill his wife while they were living in Goodyear Lake.  On Jan. 19, 2000, according to a press release, Callahan ran over Elizabeth with a tractor trailer in the parking lot of the Dandy Mini Mart # 19 in Sayre, Pa., just off Route 17’s Exit 59A at Wilawan, west of Binghamton.

“We believe he took her there to kill her,” said Muehl.  “We believe the intent originated here in Otsego County.”

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