Jury takes just over two hours to con­vict the man of killing his fa­ther

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­ pat­ti­at­free­man on Twitter

Months after his first trial ended in a hung jury, Ni­cholas Pascarella Jr. was found guilty Tues­day in Ul­ster County Court of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der for the Dec. 27, 2014 blud­geon­ing death of his 67-yearold fa­ther, Ni­cholas Pascarella Sr.

In hand­ing down the guilty ver­dict, the eight-man, four­woman jury re­jected the de­fense claim that the younger Pascarella suf­fered from an ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance that led to a pro­found loss of self con­trol when he beat his fa­ther to death with a base­ball bat in the drive­way of the elder’s Marl­bor­ough home.

The jury de­lib­er­ated for two hours be­fore reach­ing its ver­dict, a far cry from Pascarella’s first trial, when ju­rors de­lib­er­ated over four and one-half days be­fore declar­ing it­self to be at an “ab­so­lute dead­lock.”

Pascarella, 41, sat emo­tion­less as the jury read its ver­dict. His es­tranged wife, with whom the pros­e­cu­tion said Pascarella made a “blood pact” to kill his fa­ther, hung her head at the ver­dict.

His mother, sis­ter and other fam­ily mem­bers sobbed.

Out­side the court­room, Pascarella’s sis­ter, Dawn Co­cozza, said “that’s jus­tice right there,” re­fer­ring to the guilty ver­dict.

His mother, Judy, said she hoped the ver­dict would al­low her to move for­ward with her life.

“I just want to go for­ward (and) smile again,” she said, weep­ing.

At is­sue dur­ing the trial was Pascarella’s state of mind when he killed his fa­ther.

Ul­ster County Judge Don­ald Wil­liams told ju­rors they had the op­tion of find­ing Pascarella guilty of mur­der or, if they found that Pascarella acted with a pro­found loss of con­trol due to ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance, the lesser crime of first-de­gree


In clos­ing ar­gu­ments Tues­day morn­ing, the prose­cu­tor said Ni­cholas Pascarella Jr. planned with his wife to kill the man who al­legedly abused their young son, while the de­fen­dant’s lawyer said the killing was an act of ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance.

Chief As­sis­tant Ul­ster County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Michael Ka­vanagh again played recorded con­ver­sa­tions be­tween Pascarella and his es­tranged wife Michelle, in which Pascarella can be heard say­ing he kept his prom­ise to kill his fa­ther.

“I told you I wouldn’t fail,” he is heard say­ing. “I’ve been telling you for six months I wouldn’t fail.”

He also is heard telling her, “I made him suf­fer. I promised you that,” and “I told you I don’t lie. I told you I wouldn’t fail.”

In an­other con­ver­sa­tion, he could be heard say­ing, “I re­al­ized what I had to do two weeks ago.”

“Do these sound like the words of a man who lost con­trol of him­self or of a man who had just ful­filled a prom­ise to his es­tranged wife that he was go­ing to kill his fa­ther?” asked Ka­vanagh.

“When a homi­cide is planned for two weeks that is vengeance and vengeance is mur­der,” he told ju­rors.

But Pub­lic De­fender Mar­iAnn Con­nolly painted a much dif­fer­ent pic­ture of Pascarella Jr. lead­ing up to the day he killed his fa­ther.

Con­nolly said in her fi­nal re­marks to the jury that her client’s ac­tions were those of a des­per­ate man who was suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der after a life­time of abuse and who saw jus­tice de­nied when the elder Pascarella es­caped pros­e­cu­tion for sex­u­ally abus­ing the younger Pascarella’s 4-yearold son.

She said Pascarella’s com­ments on the phone “were the words of an ex­tremely dev­as­tated and bro­ken in­di­vid­ual” who had “suf­fered his whole life un­der the bul­ly­ing and bru­tal na­ture of his up­bring­ing.”

When, the night be­fore he killed his fa­ther, Pascarella wit­nessed his son be­come up­set after see­ing a truck that looked like one that be­longed to Pascarella Sr., it “was just too much for him to over­come,” she said.

Be­fore reach­ing their ver­dict, ju­rors asked Judge Wil­liams to read to them again the def­i­ni­tion of ex­treme emo­tional dis­tur­bance and the bur­dens that both the de­fense and pros­e­cu­tion had to meet.

Ju­rors de­clined to com­ment on their ver­dict fol­low­ing Tues­day’s pro­ceed­ings, with one ju­ror say­ing it say­ing “too trau­matic” to dis­cuss.

Pascarella is sched­uled to be sen­tenced on Dec. 8. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison.


Ni­cholas Pascarella Jr. is led away in hand­cuffs after be­ing found guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der for the Dec. 27, 2014 blud­geon­ing death of his 67-year-old fa­ther, Ni­cholas Pascarella Sr.

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