Watervliet man found guilty in double homicide

A 25-year-old contractor from Watervliet has been found guilty of stabbing to death his estranged gi

A 25-year-old contractor from Watervliet has been found guilty of stabbing to death his estranged girlfriend and their 3-month-old son in a small western New York town on Father’s Day.

Bryan Ashline could get life in prison without possibility of parole at sentencing on Dec. 21.

After less than three hours of jury deliberations today, Ashline was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the slayings of 25-year-old Trieste Clayton and son Xavier at her apartment in Bath the night of June 20, 2010.

Ashline acknowledged on the stand that he was the killer.

But he maintained he was overcome by “extreme emotional disturbance,” a psychiatric defense allowed in New York state that, if successful, would have resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Deliberations got under way this afternoon after seven days of testimony.

The couple met in the Albany area in 2008 and later moved in together in Watervliet, his hometown. But Clayton obtained an order of protection against him and returned home to Steuben County in August 2009 after he was charged with assaulting her while he was drunk.

Ashline testified Monday that he feared he’d no longer be allowed to be involved in his son’s upbringing. In an October 2009 entry in an online diary, which was introduced at trial, he wrote: “I’m trying to hold up but it’s only a matter of time before I break down. I’m going to lose it.”

Ashline maintained that those thoughts were not on his mind when he went to see Clayton at her duplex in Bath, 80 miles south of Rochester. He insisted Clayton attacked him first and cut him with a knife, then tried to block him from leaving the apartment.

State police determined Clayton was stabbed 13 times in the back while holding the boy and that, after she collapsed on the kitchen floor, the infant was stabbed three times in the chest and abdomen.

Displaying little emotion during the trial, Ashline said he felt detached from his own actions on the night of the slayings. Asked by his attorney if he had made a choice, he said, “I really can’t say that I did. I really wasn’t thinking. I was just an observer.”

The day after the attack, Ashline was arrested at a rest stop more than 100 miles away in Otsego County. Police found him via a factory-installed tracking system on his vehicle.

Clayton’s death devastated her co-workers at the Village Tavern Restaurant & Inn in Hammondsport. She worked there as a waitress before going to college and then after moving back to town.

Categories: Schenectady County

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