SARATOGA SPRINGS – Jordan and James Garafalo on Thursday were charged with first-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Mark French after the brothers allegedly attacked him outside of Clancy’s Tavern on Saturday night.
The Garafalos, both of Saratoga Springs, were arrested on Saturday shortly after they allegedly assaulted French, who was found on the street unconscious shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday night. The Garafalos were both charged with felony assault on Saturday and have been held in the Saratoga County Jail since. French died on Sunday.
Police continued to investigate the attack and on Thursday added the new charges – first-degree manslaughter. They were arraigned in City Court Thursday on the new charges.
“Based upon the change in circumstances, a medical examination of Mr. French, and further investigation, both Jordan and James Garafalo were additionally charged with manslaughter,” Saratoga Springs police said in a statement.
James Garafalo, 27, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in court on Aug. 24, according to court records, while Jordan Garafalo, 38, is next scheduled to appear in court later next month. The Garafalos pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
First-degree manslaughter applies to cases when someone with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person causes the death of that person. The charges constitute a class B felony and carry a sentence of up to 25 years.
Police had previously filed in court records incriminating statements the brothers allegedly made while being held in jail after the assault. Police said the brothers discussed the attack and used expletives to describe the trouble they could face. Police on Thursday added statements from a witness who allegedly identified the two brothers as being involved in the assault.
French, who lived in Saratoga Springs but had relocated to South Carolina, was a former corrections officer. Hundreds of people posted messages of support and condolences on his Facebook page this week, with many calling him a “great man.” His family is planning a memorial service at Burke and Bussing Funeral Homes in Saratoga Springs from 2 to 4 p.m. today.
Defense attorney George LaMarche, who is representing Jordan Garafalo but not James Garafalo out of concern for a potential conflict, on Thursday offered a defense of his client. In an interview, LaMarche claimed that the Garafalo brothers were attacked by a group of other bar patrons, including French, and were defending themselves when French was struck and knocked out.
“My understanding is that individuals much larger than the Garafalos physically assaulted them, physically removed them, attacked them and dragged them out of the bar,” LaMarche said. “Under those circumstances, what was used here was reasonable force. The Garafalos were defending themselves.”
LaMarche said that he expected Jordan Garafalo to make bail and be released by the end of Thursday. His bail had been set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. He argued that the Garafalos did not intend to cause serious injury, a prerequisite for proving the manslaughter case.
“That Mr. French died is a tragedy,” LaMarche said. “This is not a manslaughter case, not a murder case. Neither of the Garafalos intended to cause serious physical injury and certainly not death to Mr. French.”