PASCARELLA FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER
Jury takes just over two hours to convict the man of killing his father
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.