The Stutzensteins wanted Arthur Jackson to move out of their quaint two-story farmhouse on a rural stretch of Route 9N.
The 41-year-old ex-convict, who rented a room from the couple, was acting inappropriately toward Carol Ann Stutzenstein and was in the process of being evicted, defense attorney Terry Kindlon explained Sunday. But before the local court could act, Jackson entered the Stutzensteins’ bedroom late Thursday evening, precipitating a brawl that resulted in Mark Stutzenstein being charged with his murder.
“Most likely there was no crime at all,” Kindlon said. “I’m hopeful we’re going to be able to clarify that quickly.”
State police investigators said Stutzenstein, 46, stabbed Jackson in the stomach with a hunting knife after the two men were engaged in a fight. The homeowner later told police he had been savagely beaten by Jackson —his tenant of nearly three years —before he broke away to retrieve the blade around 10:45 p.m. Thursday.
Jackson was brought to Saratoga Hospital, where he died Friday. Stutzenstein, who was free on $15,000 bail on the initial charges of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon, was ordered held without bail on a second-degree murder charge Saturday.
The Stutzensteins live in a well-manicured 19th century single-family home nestled on a rolling green near the Corinth town line. A man at the home Sunday afternoon said he didn’t know anything about the events that transpired Thursday and indicated Carol Ann Stutzenstein was visiting her husband in jail.
State police spokeswoman Maureen Tuffey and Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III did not return calls for comment Sunday. Messages left with Stutzenstein’s wife, Carol Ann, were also not returned Sunday evening.
Kindlon described Stutzenstein as an upstanding veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a longtime worker at the Quad Graphics plant in Saratoga Springs. In contrast, he described Jackson as someone who had a long rap sheet and a penchant for violence.
“The deceased had an extensive criminal history as I understand it,” he said. “That was his reputation and that was well known.”
Kindlon also noted the difference in size and stature of the two men. He described Jackson’s stature as that of a weight lifter.
“He was a formidable, dangerous character,” he said.
Records show that Jackson, who police described as a tenant, had a lengthy criminal record in Saratoga County dating back nearly two decades, and served at least two jail sentences. In 1991, he was convicted on felony charges of first-degree rape and assault in Saratoga Springs.
Jackson was sentenced to serve seven years in prison, but was discharged in 1997, according to the state Department of Corrections. Two years after his release, he was arrested again in Saratoga Springs after a city police officer witnessed him dropping a plastic bag that contained 10 individually wrapped rocks of crack cocaine.
Jackson later pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to serve two to four years in prison. He was released after serving two years and eight months, according to state records.
But just two months after being released from jail, Jackson was incarcerated again after he allegedly held a sawed-off shotgun to the head of his 18-year-old pregnant roommate in their Saratoga Springs apartment.
At the time, the woman told police he had become enraged on several occasions and had even thrown a mattress on her at their South Franklin Street apartment.
Jackson was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing. The disposition of the case was unclear Sunday.
Kindlon said Jackson inflicted “a very severe beating” on Stutzenstein and also assaulted his wife during the altercation. He declined to discuss exactly what precipitated the fight, but said it stemmed from Jackson’s “bizarre” actions after he entered the couple’s bedroom while they were watching television Thursday.
“What will become clear as the facts come out is that Jackson’s actions toward Mark’s wife were extremely inappropriate,” he said. “In fact, he also assaulted her.”