Edward Mero found guilty of murdering 2 women

Verdict comes after more than 2-and-a-half days of deliberation
Edward Mero (center) is handcuffed Tuesday after listening to his conviction in Albany County Court.
Edward Mero (center) is handcuffed Tuesday after listening to his conviction in Albany County Court.

SCHENECTADY — Edward Mero was found guilty Tuesday of murdering two women, one of them from Schenectady.

The jury found Mero killed his roommate, Megan Cunningham, in January 2013 before setting fire to the Albany residence to cover up the crime.

The jury also convicted Mero of killing Shelby Countermine, of Schenectady, who disappeared in December 2014 and whose body was found six months later in Coeymans.

Mero faces up to 50 years to life in prison at sentencing, as well as potential extra time for tampering with evidence for concealing the women’s bodies — by fire and by remote burial.

Countermine’s family attended the reading of the verdict. They left the courtroom appearing emotional but would not comment to reporters.

Prosecutor David Rossi commended the jury afterward and acknowledged the victims’ families.

“[The jury] obviously worked really hard on two very difficult, circumstantial cases,” Rossi told reporters. “Our thoughts are with the families now, and we look forward to the sentence.”

The jury reached its verdict after more than 2 1/2 days of deliberation.

Mero is to be sentenced in February. He faces potential consecutive terms of 25 years to life. The jury also convicted him of the two evidence tampering counts, for which he could get additional time.

Edward Mero (center) is led away after a jury convicted him Tuesday in Albany County Court. (Skip Dickstein/Pool)

Mero’s defense attorney, Cheryl Coleman, said she instructed her client to remain strong throughout the verdict, no matter what happened.

In the event of a guilty verdict, she told Mero, they would appeal, arguing the cases should have been tried separately.

Coleman said trying the cases together “absolutely enhanced their [prosecutors’] capability of getting a conviction in this case, particularly in the first case [Cunningham’s death].”

Rossi countered that multiple witnesses testified to both murders, making it impossible to separate out the two crimes.

“We feel like we’re on pretty firm ground with that,” Rossi said.

(Skip Dickstein/Pool)

In his closing statement last week, he argued that the two cases amounted to puzzles, with each piece pointing to murder and Mero as the perpetrator.

Mero was the last person known to be with Countermine before her disappearance in December 2014. Her body was found months later on remote land owned by the Albany Water Department — Mero was a water department employee — and a witness recalled seeing a man fitting Mero’s description near the place where the body was found. The man was wearing the same kind of stocking cap that Mero owned.

In the other case, the body of Megan Cunningham, who shared an apartment with Mero, was discovered after a structure fire in January 2013. The fire’s caused was ruled “undetermined.” 

It destroyed the apartment, but Forensic evidence indicated Cunningham died before the fire, Rossie said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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