Montgomery County

Palatine suffocation suspect judged unfit for trial

A 74-year-old Fonda man arrested in August after allegedly attempting to suffocate his wife has been

A 74-year-old Fonda man arrested in August after allegedly attempting to suffocate his wife has been found not currently competent to stand trial.

The finding by two doctors who examined the man means he will be evaluated again in a year. In the meantime, he will remain in custody.

Edgar L. Morey Sr. appeared Friday in Montgomery County Court to be arraigned on one count each of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree strangulation.

If convicted of the attempted murder count, the man would likely spend the rest of his life in prison — the maximum sentence for that charge is 25 years. However, if the competency determination is unchanged, he would face a similar prospect of continuing commitment with treatment.

Morey is accused of trying to kill his wife during a visit to the Palatine Nursing Home Aug. 9. Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy on Friday confirmed the intended victim was his wife. Conboy said they have been married for about five years and married prior to her entering the nursing home.

Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies in August said Morey was visiting the woman when staff witnessed him attempting to suffocate her. Staff members intervened, however, and she survived.

Deputies did not provide a possible motive at the time, and Conboy declined to elaborate Friday. Court proceedings indicate Morey gave investigators a written statement.

Due to the doctors’ findings about his client’s mental state, defense attorney William Martuscello questioned whether a plea could even be entered at the arraignment. Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena chose to enter a not guilty plea on Morey’s behalf.

Morey spoke only briefly, correcting Catena on the pronunciation of his last name.

Morey has been known locally for dogsled racing, featured previously with his son in local newspapers for demonstrations at area schools.

Conboy noted later that the finding by the doctors that Morey is not competent only relates to his current state, that he is not able to understand the nature of the proceedings or assist his attorney in his defense. It does not comment on Morey’s mental state at the time of the alleged act, Conboy said.

Martuscello declined comment.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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