Schenectady County

Prosecutor brings up writings as man is sentenced on gun count

A convicted killer sentenced Tuesday on a weapons count had written about a group that puts its own

A convicted killer sentenced Tuesday on a weapons count had written about a group that puts its own interests above those of society, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutor Amy Monahan referred to Joseph Campon’s writing, which was discovered at his home, to ensure that Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye was aware of all information when considering a request from the defense for more favorable treatment of Campon.

But Campon’s attorney said the material was intended as a work of fiction and it predated the weapons possession incident that led to the current case.

Campon, 27, of 1045 Parkwood Blvd., was sentenced to five years in prison on his guilty plea last month to one count of second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

Campon was arrested Feb. 28 after parole officers searched his residence. Inside, investigators found a 9mm handgun, nearly a pound of marijuana and a large amount of cash.

Campon and his attorney have never offered an explanation for the marijuana and the gun.

“Regarding the weapon, I do take responsibility for that,” Campon said. He noted that cartridges were not loaded in the gun; they were next to it. He also acknowledged that the distinction made little difference legally.

The issue of the writings came up during arguments over a defense motion for what is called a “violent felony override.” In his arguments, defense attorney Peter Lynch said if the request were granted, it would afford Campon certain considerations while in prison.

Lynch argued that there was no evidence Campon threatened anyone with the gun, which was found inside a safe.

Monahan took no position on the request. But she did note the writings concerning an organization called “Black Flag.” She described the organization as one that puts its own freedoms, desires and interests above those of society, without concern for laws.

Lynch said the writings were from Campon’s previous prison time and were intended for use in a work of fiction. Campon, in the first part of his statement to the court, repeated those assertions.

Hoye ultimately granted the defense’s request for a violent felony override. She also sentenced Campon as a second-felony offender due to his prior felony conviction for reckless manslaughter.

On July 2, 2001, Campon, then 17, killed 19-year-old Christopher Loftus in Cape May, N.J., where he was on vacation with his family.

Campon and Loftus argued after Loftus made advances toward Campon’s younger sister and cousin, both age 16. The argument spilled onto the sidewalk, where Loftus picked up a broken bottle. Campon opened a pen knife he had in his pocket and stabbed Loftus five times.

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

In 2005, a second jury convicted Campon of a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter. He was sentenced to four years and was released in July 2008.

He now also faces prison time in New Jersey for the parole violation triggered by the discovery of the gun and marijuana.

But any such prison stay is expected to be limited, as the violation came with only a few months left on his parole.

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