BALLSTON SPA – A Ballston Spa man has admitted to recklessly causing the death of a Stillwater resident last seen alive two years ago, Saratoga County sheriff’s officials said.
Jack L. Jeffers, 25, of County Farm Road, pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, officials said Tuesday.
Jeffers admitted recklessly causing the death of Michael P. Ahern in January 2019.
His guilty plea to both counts came after Jeffers had previously been charged with other crimes related to Ahern’s disappearance. This week’s manslaughter charge and guilty plea marked the first time he had been directly linked to Ahern’s death.
Ahern, 42 at the time, was reported missing Jan. 15, 2019, from a building on Brickyard Road in the town of Stillwater.
Investigators believe Jeffers shot and killed Ahern Jan. 6, 2019, during a personal dispute, officials said.
Ahern had been living at a building formerly used as a clubhouse for the now defunct Rolling Pride Motorcycle Club on Brickyard Road in the town of Stillwater and investigators believe he was shot and killed there, officials said.
Jeffers was charged in 2019 with other offenses related to the investigation, including grand larceny, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon, officials said.
Jeffers is accused of disposing of evidence related to the crime in the months after the killing, that he stole a truck belonging to Ahern and was found to illegally possess firearms, officials said.
Tuesday’s press conference:
Jeffers was arraigned on the manslaughter count and ordered held on $25,000 bail. He then appeared in Saratoga County Court later Monday and pleaded guilty to the two counts, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said.
He admitted to recklessly causing Ahern’s death, which is what investigators determined happened, Heggen said.
Heggen cited cooperative work across agencies that led to this week’s resolution.
“Without that collaborative effort, we would not be standing here today having identified and revolved this case with an acknowledgement of the responsibility of the homicide of Michael Ahern,” Heggen said.
Jeffers is to be sentenced in March. He is expected to receive a total sentence of nine to 12 years in prison. He has been in custody since April 2019, officials said.
Asked if Ahern’s remains have been recovered, Saratoga County sheriff’s Capt. Jeffrey Brown said “we’re still working on a few things with the remains.” He would comment further about Ahern’s remains.
The investigation is continuing, Brown said, including whether others were involved in either the death or the aftermath.
Brown said investigators haven’t been able to determine exactly what led to the dispute , but Brown said the two men had lived together there for some time.
They had also both been part of the motorcycle club, but the club had largely dissolved by the time Jeffers was killed, Brown said.
Investigators have recovered the gun they believe was used to kill Ahern, Brown said.
The Sheriff’s Department thanked the state police Special Investigations Unit, Major Crimes Unit and Forensic Identification Unit; FBI in Albany, Stillwater police; Dr. Michael Sikirica; and the Albany County and Saratoga County district attorney’s offices for their assistance.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also cited the investigators on the case, as well as prosecutors.
“This case took a multitude of people to come to a successful conclusion, from our law enforcement partners, to the prosecutor’s office to our road patrol deputies,” Zurlo said.