Montgomery County killer’s fate now in hands of jury

A photograph of George King’s bloodied body sat on a projector screen Thursday as Schoharie County D

A photograph of George King’s bloodied body sat on a projector screen Thursday as Schoharie County District Attorney James Sacket described King’s son Gerry Alan King as a volcano who blamed his adoptive father for all his problems.

His defense attorney, Mark Gaylord, worked to persuade the jury that Gerry King was too drunk to have formed the intent to kill Nov. 15, 2009.

Gerry King, 38, sat emotionless in Schoharie County Court, where he faces a second-degree murder charge and a potential life sentence. The jury got the case after the closing statements but failed to reach a verdict Thursday. Jurors are expected to resume deliberations this morning.

Gerry King quickly became the prime suspect in the death of George King, 63, a truck driver found dead in his rural Staleyville Road home in the town of Sharon.

Connecticut State Police pulled him over two days after the slaying; with him in the car were his girlfriend, Joleen Henderson, and her mother, Alice Williams, who face felony hindering prosecution charges in the case.

A pathologist during the trial said George King died of bleeding caused by his skull being crushed. He also suffered broken ribs and strangulation.

Gaylord told the jury from the outset they’d be checking the “guilty” box on a sheet, but he said the precise charge would depend on whether they found beyond a reasonable doubt that Gerry King intended to kill his father.

He said trial testimony made it clear his client drank more than a six-pack of beer and then bought an 18-pack later.

He said the law doesn’t absolve a person for committing a crime when extremely intoxicated, but it does call for a second-degree manslaughter charge in the event a defendant is too intoxicated to form intent. “The evidence shows he was … inebriated to the point where he wasn’t able to make any conscious choices,” Gaylord said.

Witnesses described a sour relationship between Gerry King and the man who’d married his mother and adopted him and his siblings when he was about 5 years old.

King himself confirmed it.

In his confession to police and in his testimony at his trial, Gerry King said he went to George King’s house that day to tell him he didn’t want to see him at family parties. He also wanted to express his anger at what he believed was an inappropriate hug George King gave his sister at some point in the past.

Gerry King said the encounter quickly went from them yelling at each other to George King punching him in the face. And then he started punching the man who’d provided for him since he was a child, leaving him to die on his bedroom floor.

He later returned to the scene to retrieve the baseball cap he’d left behind.

He then went back home and waited for Henderson to return from a 12-hour shift at work and they returned to the scene yet again.

He wiped up fingerprints, burned clothing and had Henderson and her children get rid of other evidence.

Sacket rejected the idea that Gerry King was too drunk to intend to kill his father — he said numerous witnesses testified the unemployed Montgomery County resident drank alcohol often.

Sacket said one witness testified to seeing Gerry King’s car show up at his father’s house that day and there was no indication of an impaired driver behind the wheel.

Sacket said Gerry King seemed to have a great yet selective memory of many of the details of that day, so it was unlikely he was so drunk that he blacked out.

“He wasn’t so intoxicated he couldn’t beat a man to death,” Sacket said.

Nor was he too intoxicated to drive back to clean up his bloody fingerprints and get the hat he left at the murder scene, Sacket said.

With a gruesome photo of George King’s body on the projector screen, Sacket told the jury Gerry King was a volcano who’d been talking about killing and hurting his father for more than two years.

He said it was clear from testimony that Gerry King considered George King “the source of all his ills.”

Sacket told the jury there are millions of people in the world who have rough lives, feel disrespected or “maybe wished things turned out differently.”

“And there’s millions of people who don’t go out and kill someone over these issues. The ones that do, I’ll submit to you, we call them murderers,” Sacket said.

Seven family members sat in the courtroom Thursday, some coming to tears as photos on the projector screen changed from a historic shot of a smiling George King to the bloody corpse police found when they arrived.

The past year has been a difficult one, said George King’s daughter, Anita Cirtwell.

“I really miss him,” she said of her father, whom she used to visit often to play cards with.

Categories: Schenectady County

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