Opening Statements To Be Heard In Murder Trial
A last minute plea bargain offer from prosecutors was turned down by murder suspects Anthony Lalonde, Michael Thorpe and Michael Durand who all decided to take their chances at trial rather than enter guilty pleas to reduced charges.
The rejected offer came just before the seating of four alternate jurors in the trio's murder trial in St. Lawrence County Court.
It started out as a drug-related robbery attempt by three masked men inside a Ford Street apartment and ended with the death of an elderly Ogdensburg man in 2010.
The three men allegedly entered 83 year old Ralph "Gene" Lawton's apartment, police say, not to intentionally kill him, but to steal prescription pills and money.
But the alleged incident turned deadly when a struggle broke out and Lawton was killed.
The only eyewitness to the incident was Lawton's roommate, Guy Bartlett, who also struggled with the assailants and was pushed onto Lawton during the attack.
An autopsy showed Lawton died from blunt force trauma from direct blows to the chest.
It took police more than 19 months to build their case against the three men who were all indicted on murder and robbery charges last June.
Jurors were told this trial may potentially last 2 to 4 weeks.
There are 47 potential witnesses that could be called to testify.