Grand jury indicts Adam Smith on first-degree murder charges

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 3:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CANTON, New York (WWNY) - It’s the most serious homicide charge you can face: first-degree murder.

And a Lake Placid man faces two of them for the stabbing deaths of two St. Lawrence County men.

A grand jury indictment was handed up Thursday in the case of 47-year-old Adam Smith.

Smith is accused of killing 72-year-old Ronald “Huck” Durham. Durham was stabbed in the neck in the town of Gouverneur on February 11. His body was found at East Riverside Cemetery.

Smith is also accused of murdering 67-year-old William Freeman. Freeman was found dead on March 2 in his home at 258 County Route 10 in the town of Rossie.

The grand jury indicted Smith on other criminal counts including second-degree murder as well as first-degree manslaughter, robbery, assault, and burglary. Additional counts include grand larceny in the third and fourth degrees.

“The first-degree murder charge comes along because it’s charged as an intentional killing while also committing another designated crime or in furtherance of that crime. So, in Mr. Durham’s case, it was during a robbery in the first degree or in furtherance of that robbery, and in Mr. Freeman’s case, it was during and in furtherance of a burglary in the first degree,” said District Attorney Gary Pasqua.

This is the first time we’ve learned that Durham was robbed during the murder. Pasqua declined to disclose what was stolen from Durham but did say evidence will show it was a financial crime.

Most of the murder suspects we’ve seen in the north country have faced second-degree murder counts. A conviction of second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Convicts can be freed on parole.

“With the first-degree murder, the maximum sentence is a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole,” said Pasqua.

Smith, who has a residence in the town of Gouverneur, is being held without bail in the county jail.

The man who was originally charged with Durham’s murder, 22-year-old Frederick Wing, is out on probation. Pasqua hopes to officially clear Wing’s name of wrongdoing in two to three weeks.