Wing cleared of charges in Durham murder

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 12:58 PM EDT
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ROSSIE, New York (WWNY) - The man originally accused of murdering a Gouverneur man in February has been cleared of all charges.

Twenty-two-year-old Frederick Wing of Gouverneur and his family were in Rossie town court Wednesday morning, where second-degree murder charges against him were dropped.

He was the first person accused of stabbing 72-year-old Ronald Durham in the neck at East Riverside Cemetery in the town of Gouverneur on February 11. A friend of Durham’s told 7 News that the older man was helping Wing deal with the recent death of his mother.

Wing’s attorney, Ed Narrow, revealed that when Wing was taken into custody by state police, he was interrogated for six hours before making a false confession.

Another man, 46-year-old Adam Smith of Lake Placid, has been charged in Durham’s murder as well as that of 67-year-old William Freeman, who was found dead on March 2 in his town of Rossie home.

It was evidence found in their investigation of Freeman’s murder that led police to suspect Smith of killing Durham. Smith has pleaded not guilty to both murder charges. Police have said that he was acquainted with both victims.

Wing was released from jail and placed on probation on March 3. Before then, he was held in jail without bail.

Since his release, Wing has spent a lot of time at Durham’s grave. Sprucing it up, and saying hello.

Wing said one of the hardest parts about his time in jail is missing Durham’s funeral services.

“I told them, I had to go to that funeral and everything. They wanted me to carry his casket,” Wing said.

District Attorney Gary Pasqua traveled to Rossie for the court appearance. He said he’s very happy for Wing, and the focus will now remain towards the case against Smith.

“We’re always working to make sure justice is done, and in this case, justice for Mr. Wing is making sure these charges were dropped, and that’s what we accomplished today,” Pasqua said.

It has been a long process for Wing’s family, and support system.

“It’s been a long, long hundred plus days to have to go through this as a family for Freddie. To make phone calls, to have somebody as wonderful as Ed be able to step in, and be able to help us. To see what we saw,” said his cousin, Jessica Bice.

Narrow thanked the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement for looking at the evidence and coming to the conclusion that Wing was wrongfully charged.

Wing also thanked the corrections officers at the St. Lawrence County Jail for checking on him while he was there.

Family members say it’s too soon to say whether or not they will file a civil lawsuit over the incident.