Clarkson Men's Soccer Coach Charged With Murdering Potsdam Boy

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Clarkson University men's soccer coach Oral "Nick" Hillary has been arrested in connection with the death of a 12 year old Potsdam boy.

Hillary was charged Thursday afternoon with second-degree murder and ordered held without bail.

"I am 100 percent innocent. That's all I have to say," said Hillary as he was brought in to the Potsdam Police Department.

A St. Lawrence County grand jury heard four days of closed door testimony in the homicide of Garrett Phillips of Potsdam.

The grand jury handed up a sealed indictment at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

That means the panel decided there's enough evidence to warrant further prosecution.

District Attorney Mary Rain said Hillary was given the opportunity to turn himself in to Potsdam police, but didn't do so.

"The evidence in the case is significant," she said.

After police arrested Hillary, he was taken to Canton for arraignment on a single count of second-degree murder.

Five orders of protection were issued for witnesses in the case.

Hillary is set to be re-arraigned Friday when his New York City attorney arrives in the north country.

Phillips died in October 2011 after being strangled and smothered with a pillow in the upstairs Market Street apartment he shared with his mother.

At least two dozen people testified before the grand jury, including Phillips' mother, Tandy Cyrus, and the teenage daughter of Hillary.

Hillary, who had been involved in a relationship with Cyrus, was initially questioned by police as a person of interest in the boy's death but never charged.

Those with knowledge of the homicide case say Hillary's daughter provided her father with an alibi early in the investigation, although Hillary's lawyer denied that in legal documents.

Hillary later filed a civil defamation suit against the village of Potsdam and its police department.

Clarkson University said Thursday that Hillary has been placed on administrative leave.

Impacted student athletes will be under Associate Athletic Director Laurel Kane, the school said.

Thursday, August 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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