BALLSTON SPA – A Saratoga Springs man was sentenced to state prison this week for his role in a fatal August assault on Caroline Street, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office said.
James J. Garafalo, 28, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded guilty earlier to second-degree assault, as well as an unrelated domestic violence charge, officials said.
He was sentenced Wednesday to a total of four-and-a-half years in state prison.
Garafalo and his brother Jordan Garafalo were initially arrested on second-degree assault charges, then later indicted on first-degree manslaughter counts in the death of 56-year-old Mark French outside Clancy’s Tavern Aug. 14. French was found unconscious by police shortly after 11 p.m. near the intersection of Henry and Caroline streets.
Jordan Garafalo was later indicted on first-degree manslaughter and other charges, while James Garafalo was not indicted on the manslaughter count. Jordan Garafalo’s case remains pending.
In his plea, James Garafalo admitted that in concert with his brother caused serious physical injury to French “who was punched in the head and fell to the ground where his head struck the pavement,” prosecutors said in a release.
French’s widow Angela French addressed the court at James Garafalo’s sentencing, prosecutors said.
“Grief is a heavy burden to carry – especially when it’s the love of your life. Mark was my husband and best friend for 31 years,” Angela French told the court, according to prosecutors. “Because of (the defendant’s) actions, I don’t get to wake up with a kiss and a cup of coffee made just the way I like it. I’ll never again feel the absolute safety and comfort of being completely enveloped by Mark’s warm embrace … Because of the choices you’ve made, I’ll forever miss the little things he did every day that made me feel important, special and loved.
“I pray that the next time you have to choose between violence or patience, that you choose differently,” Angela French continued. “You may not know all the people your decision will impact. I forgive you.”
The case was prosecuted by Jennifer L. Buckley, bureau chief of the office’s general felony unit.