Schenectady County

Alleged attacker rejects plea deal

The Albany man accused of kidnapping three prostitutes and trying to kill two of them rejected a ple

The Albany man accused of kidnapping three prostitutes and trying to kill two of them rejected a plea deal Monday that would have gotten him 10 years in prison.

Instead, 63-year-old Joseph Kruppenbacher opted for trial, with jury selection beginning shortly after his formal rejection of the deal.

Kruppenbacher, of 15 Besch Ave., will stand trial on two counts of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree rape and a host of other counts that include unlawful imprisonment, assault and attempted assault.

The charges stem from alleged attacks on five separate women in early 2008.

In one case, Kruppenbacher is accused of kidnapping a woman Jan. 13, 2008, on Route 7 in Rotterdam and then attempting to kill her by driving at high speed toward a remote destination, displaying a knife and threatening her, authorities have said.

Kruppenbacher is also accused of kidnapping another woman Feb. 5, 2008, in the vicinity of the Price Chopper parking lot on Altamont Avenue. He is accused of displaying a knife, choking her and threatening to kill her. He also allegedly drove his vehicle at high speed directly at her. The woman avoided injury by jumping over a guard rail at the last instant.

Other allegations against Kruppenbacher include the rape of a woman in January 2008 in a sand and gravel pit at Becker Drive off Route 7.

The women, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said previously, willingly went with Kruppenbacher.

Prosecutors on Monday formally identified the women as prostitutes during a pretrial hearing.

Prosecutor Michele Schettino argued that prosecutors should be able to use allegations that Kruppenbacher frequented prostitutes, including the women he allegedly attacked. That information should be available, even though Kruppenbacher is not charged specifically with patronizing a prostitute.

Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye ruled that the information could be used because it provides context. Prosecutors allege that some of the women went willingly with Kruppenbacher because they had encounters with him in the past.

Prosecutors also allege that Kruppenbacher believed at least two of the women owed him money, providing a motive for the alleged attacks.

Despite the characterization of the women as prostitutes, prosecutors still filed motion papers asking Hoye to bar any further evidence from the defense regarding the women’s sexual past, citing state law that bars such inquiry except in certain circumstances. Hoye reserved decision until later.

Kruppenbacher, who is out on bail, is represented by the firm of Terence Kindlon. He was represented in court Monday by attorney Todd G. Monahan.

Prior to the start of jury selection, Monahan told Hoye that Kruppenbacher had considered a plea offer that would have resulted in a 10-year prison sentence, but he rejected it. He maintains his innocence.

Kindlon has previously alleged the women were prostitutes, saying with that comes credibility issues. He also speculated an attempted rape count might have grown out of a contract dispute.

Kruppenbacher is a Vietnam veteran with no criminal history. He owns property in Albany and is a top-level chess player, Kindlon has said.

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