News of Otsego County

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

New Year’s Day slaying

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/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

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 Faces 20 Years In Slaying

Now 26, He’ll Emerge At 46

Underwood Facing

20 Years In Slaying

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

OPD Officers Lindsay Rumenapp and Edmund Donley had a grim New Year’s Day, investigating a slaying. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Joshua Underwood, 26, will reenter society at age 46 after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter yesterday in a death in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in Oneonta.

Joshua Underwood

The plea in the death of Mark Morrison, 52, was entered before county Judge Brian Burns as the deadline – yesterday – for two plea options was running out, District Attorney John Muehl said today.

Muehl said he offered Underwood and his lawyer, Public Defender Bruce Maxson, two options:  second-degree murder, 15 years to life, or first-degree manslaughter at a firm 20 years.   Underwood chose the “determinant” sentence, the D.A. said.

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