Montgomery County

Hearing delayed for suspect in Amsterdam teen murders

The preliminary hearing of 15-year-old murder suspect Matt Phelps, slated for Tuesday in Florida Tow

The preliminary hearing of 15-year-old murder suspect Matt Phelps, slated for Tuesday in Florida Town Court, was postponed.

“We received correspondence from the defense attorney preserving the right to a preliminary hearing but requesting adjournment until a later date,” said court clerk Sylvia Perez.

Phelps and 16-year-old Anthony Brasmeister were charged Thursday with the murders of Jonathan Dejesus, 13, and Paul Damphier 16, both of Amsterdam.

The hearing would have determined whether there was reasonable cause to believe Phelps had committed a felony. If cause was shown, Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy would have had 45 days to bring the case before a grand jury for an indictment.

If the court had not found cause, Phelps would have been released from custody.

Local attorney Charles Schwartz requested the adjournment on Phelps’ behalf, though he will not represent the boy throughout the rest of the proceedings.

He said Phelps will be requesting a public defender, adding that as a friend of the family he felt compelled to step in until another attorney could be assigned.

It is not yet clear who will be representing Phelps, as both he and Anthony Brasmeister have requested public defenders, and the Public Defenders Office cannot represent two people with potentially conflicting interests. So a “conflict attorney” — someone not connected to the Public Defender’s Office — must be found to represent one of the boys.

The Public Defender’s Office could not comment on progress.

Brett Phelps, Matt’s father, who lives on Snooks Corners Road in the town of Florida, near the field where the two boys were shot to death, declined comment on the proceedings and ordered a Gazette reporter off his property Tuesday.

There is currently no new date set for the preliminary hearing.

Categories: Schenectady County

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