Fulton County Judge Richard C. Giardino threw out the top count against Edward D. Jones before sentencing him Monday to a prison term of 7 1/2 to 15 years for second-degree manslaughter.
Jones, 39, of Gloversville, a black man convicted at trial in December of the stabbing death of Northville resident David T. Lamphear, would have faced up to 25 years in prison if Giardino let stand the charge of first-degree assault.
Giardino, in a ruling issued Monday before sentencing, said the Dec. 10 verdict was inconsistent because when the jury acquitted Jones of first-degree manslaughter, it found he had not intended to kill Lamphear. But, the jury then found Jones guilty of first-degree assault, which also alleges intent to cause serious injury.
Giardino said case law does not support such an inconsistent finding.
Fred Clark, vice president of the Schenectady Chapter of the NAACP, said the organization will obtain a lawyer to file Jones’ appeal. Clark said he was hopeful Giardino would order a new trial.
At a prior court appearance, defense attorney Roger Paul compared himself to Atticus Finch, the defense attorney in the 1960 Harper Lee novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In the fictional case, an innocent black man is convicted by an all-white jury.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira read a statement Monday critical of those who have questioned the verdict and suggested it was tainted by racism.
Lamphear, also 39, was stabbed once in the side with a folding knife after he beat Jones with a board, breaking Jones’ arm. Initially, police said the injury was not life-threatening, but Lamphear developed an infection after the March 1 stabbing and died March 15.