Saratoga County

Defense claims Victory teen killed man in self-defense

The defense attorney for the Schuylerville High School student charged with killing his mother’s abu
Mathew Brown
Mathew Brown

The defense attorney for the Schuylerville High School student charged with killing his mother’s abusive fiancé Friday said this is a “powerful” justifiable homicide case and predicted there is no possible way a jury would convict the diminutive 18-year-old of murder.

Matthew J. Brown is charged with second-degree murder after allegedly stabbing Derick K. Clark, 32, in the neck during a violent altercation between the fiancé and the teen’s mother, 34-year-old Heather Brown. The incident occurred at the 66-A Gates Ave. residence where they all were living, Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies said.

Brown was charged with second-degree murder under the theory of depraved indifference to human life. He is being held at Saratoga County Jail without bail. A preliminary hearing is slated for today in Saratoga Town Court.

Albany defense attorney Terence L. Kindlon said this is a clear-cut case of self-defense, calling the confrontation “David vs. Goliath.”

“The kid is 4-10 and maybe 110 pounds. The dead guy is 6-6, 275,” Kindlon said. “At the time the knife entered his body, the deceased was beating the crap out of Matthew’s mother.”

Kindlon said Clark has a history of alcohol-fueled outbursts and flew into a rage after Heather Brown hid his cigarettes “because he was coughing up blood.” The defense attorney said Clark threatened to kill the five family cats and was physically abusive toward the mother.

The defendant, Kindlon said, “heard his mother as she was being slammed against the wall.”

The mother later feigned sleep; the teen “didn’t know if she was alive or dead” until she told him to go to his room for safety, Kindlon said.

Matthew Brown called authorities — which prompted Clark to go after him, Kindlon said. It was during the subsequent confrontation also joined by his mother that the 18-year-old volunteer firefighter stabbed Clark in the neck, the defense attorney said.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene by Saratoga County Coroner Daniel Kuhn.

There is an outstanding question whether the Sheriff’s Department could have charged Brown with a lesser offense — or not at all, handing over evidence to the District Attorney’s Office for grand jury action. A message seeking comment from Sheriff Michael Zurlo or his staff was not returned as of press time.

At the preliminary hearing, bail can be set, and the case can be held for a grand jury if a judge determines there is probable cause a felony has been committed.

“There is a history of domestic violence with deceased and the defendant’s mother,” Murphy said. “There are possible issues involving self-defense we have to explain and are being investigated. Ultimately, we will put all the proof in this case before the grand jury for the charge and/or additional charges.”

Kindlon said this case should never get out of a grand jury with an indictment, let alone conclude with a guilty verdict after trial.

“It just cries out for dismissal,” he said.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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