Pas­carella murder re­trial set to start

First trial of Clin­ton­dale man charged with killing his fa­ther ended in hung jury

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­ ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> A jury has been seated, but two al­ter­nates must still be se­lected, for the re­trial of a Clin­ton­dale, N.Y., man charged with beat­ing his fa­ther to death out­side the older man’s Marl­boro home in De­cem­ber 2014.

A jury of eight men and four women was cho­sen Mon­day for the murder trial of Ni­cholas Pas­carella Jr. in Ul­ster County Court. County Judge Don­ald A. Wil­liams said he ex­pected two al­ter­nates to be cho­sen Tues­day morn­ing and that the trial would likely con­clude by Oct. 12.

Pas­carella’s orig­i­nal trial for sec­ond-degree murder, held this past spring, ended with a hung jury. That jury de­lib­er­ated for five days be­fore declar­ing an “ab­so­lute dead­lock,” lead­ing Wil­liams to de­clare a mis­trial on April 8.

Pas­carella, 41, ad­mit­ted killing his fa­ther, Ni­cholas Sr., 67, with a base­ball bat on Dec. 27, 2014, say­ing he did so be­cause the older man sex-

ually abused both him and his young son.

In the process of se­lect­ing the jury Mon­day, Ul­ster County Chief As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Michael Ka­vanagh told the po­ten­tial ju­rors they would be deal­ing with in­tense subject mat­ter that may in­clude al­le­ga­tions of child sex­ual abuse. He ques­tioned the po­ten­tial ju­rors about whether they could put aside their emo­tions. Ka­vanagh also asked whether they could put their sym­pa­thy aside if Pas­carella’s at­tor­neys were to of­fer a de­fense of “ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance.”

“You’re go­ing to be asked, gen­er­ally speak­ing, to sit in judg­ment of another human be­ing,” Ka­vanagh said.

Wil­liams said the is­sue of ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance would come into ques­tion if the jury were to find that Pas­carella had, beyond a rea­son­able doubt, caused his fa­ther’s death and had meant to do so. He said if the jury did ac­cept that de­fense, the murder charge would be re­duced to man­slaugh­ter.

Ul­ster County As­sis­tant Pub­lic De­fender Mar­iAnn Con­nolly asked the po­ten­tial ju­rors if they thought they were strong enough to stand alone if their opin­ion dif­fered from that of other ju­rors af­ter hear­ing the tes­ti­mony and care­fully con­sid­er­ing the mat­ter. She also asked the po­ten­tial ju­rors to as­sure her they would not hold it against Pas­carella if he did not tes­tify on his own be­half.

“The stakes are in­cred­i­bly high,” Con­nolly said. “It’s a murder case.”

Sec­ond-degree murder car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of 25 years to life in state prison. First­de­gree man­slaugh­ter is pun­ish­able by a fixed sen­tence of any­where from five to 25 years in prison.

The jury was se­lected af­ter Wil­liams and the at­tor­neys ques­tioned two pan­els made up of 21 po­ten­tial ju­rors each. To­ward the end of Mon­day’s day-long pro­ceed­ings, one of the re­main­ing po­ten­tial ju­rors yawned loudly from the au­di­ence, dis­rupt­ing the ques­tion­ing of the sec­ond panel.

Wil­liams chas­tised the ju­rors, stat­ing that he had at­tempted to re­lax them, “but there’s noth­ing bor­ing about this case.”

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