Schenectady County

Schenectady killer facing gun, drug possession charges admits reduced charge

A city man who spent four years in prison for fatally stabbing another teenager while on vacation wi

A city man who spent four years in prison for fatally stabbing another teenager while on vacation with his family in New Jersey will now spend five more years in prison on a weapons charge.

Joseph Campon, 27, of 1045 Parkwood Blvd., appeared Friday morning in Schenectady County Court and pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a felony. The plea, attended by his parents, came in place of his scheduled arraignment on an indictment that charged him with multiple felonies, including weapons and marijuana possession.

Campon said little during the plea. He gave the court his full name, “Joseph Michael Campon,” when prompted to do so.

Later, he answered “yes” to acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye’s inquiry as to whether he attempted to possess a loaded firearm Feb. 28.

Standing with Campon was his attorney, Peter Lynch. Lynch said later the plea came after an “objective evaluation of the case.”

“Joe decided he would take responsibility for his actions,” Lynch said.

He said he couldn’t comment further on why Campon possessed the items.

Prosecutor Peter Willis later said prosecutors have no proof of what Campon was doing with the marijuana, but the amount recovered — just under a pound — suggests it wasn’t strictly for personal use. Willis also said the agreed-upon sentence was appropriate in the case, based on similar cases.

Campon was accused of possessing a loaded gun and the marijuana Feb. 28 at his home. The arrest stemmed from a routine parole search of his home, police said, during which parole officers found nearly a pound of marijuana and a 9-millimeter handgun among Campon’s belongings. City police responded to assist, and he was arrested.

Campon was on parole in connection with a New Jersey manslaughter conviction. In that case, Campon, then 17, fatally stabbed 19-year-old Christopher Loftus in Cape May on July 2, 2001. Campon was in the resort town while on vacation with his family.

Campon and Loftus argued after Loftus made advance towards Campon‘s younger sister and cousin, both age 16, authorities said at the time. The argument spilled onto the sidewalk, where Loftus picked up a broken bottle. Campon opened a pen knife he had in his pocket, stabbing Loftus. Loftus died of five stab wounds.

Campon argued at trial that he stabbed Loftus in self-defense. A first jury in 2003 couldn’t decide on a top count of first-degree murder. A judge later dismissed that count.

In 2005, another jury convicted Campon of a lesser count of reckless manslaughter. Campon was sentenced to four years. He was released in July 2008, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Campon now faces prison time in New Jersey for a parole violation triggered by the discovery of the gun and marijuana. Lynch said later Campon had only a short time left on parole when he was arrested, meaning any prison time left there would be limited.

Still, Hoye left open the possibility she would run the five years in the Schenectady weapons case consecutive to any New Jersey time Campon had to serve. She also could run the Schenectady sentence concurrently.

Campon is to be sentenced July 5 and remains in the county jail until then.

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