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Former landlord gets 30 days for strangulation death

Former landlord gets 30 days for strangulation death

Prosecutor cites extenuating circumstances
Former landlord gets 30 days for strangulation death
Creek and Pines Mobile Home Park on Middle Line Road, which has since been renamed Kayadeross Acres.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

A former Milton landlord who admitted to choking a trailer park tenant to death, though unintentionally, will spend 30 days in jail for the crime. 

Harold L. Wolcott, 41, was sentenced Thursday in Saratoga County Court after pleading guilty in January to criminally negligent homicide, a felony. In addition to the brief stint in county jail, he was also sentenced by Judge James Murphy III to five years of probation, according to District Attorney Karen Heggen. 

Sheriff’s deputies previously said he strangled Scott A. Montie, 51, at around 1 a.m. on Friday, April 29, after going to his residence at Creek and Pines Mobile Home Park on Middle Line Road, which has since been renamed to Kayadeross Acre, to confront him about playing music too loudly. 

“A physical scuffle between Montie and Wolcott occurred,” states a news release from Heggen’s office. “Wolcott eventually subdued Montie and held him down until the Sheriff’s Department arrived and found Montie unresponsive.” 

He was taken to Saratoga Hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries two days later. 

“Someone’s dead — it’s sad,” Heggen said when reached Thursday afternoon, “and no amount of time or anything like that brings those people back. But in this case, the defendant pled to the charge, accepted responsibility and will serve a short period of incarceration, but will be monitored for five years.”

Wolcott was also ordered to pay the family restitution for Montie’s funeral expenses in the amount of $8,428, Heggen said. 

Assistant District Attorney Charles Bucca, who prosecuted the case, said in court that the facts revealed during the investigation made it “an extremely difficult matter to handle.” Those included the discovery during the autopsy of a previously undetected advanced heart condition, a toxicology report showing he was intoxicated and the restraint used on the victim.

“These were some of the multiple factors determined by the forensic pathologist to have caused the victim’s death,” the release from the district attorney states.

Wolcott was originally charged with first-degree strangulation and second-degree manslaughter, but a grand jury dropped those charges in favor of the lesser criminally negligent homicide charge because of the multiple factors that could have contributed to his death. Montie's role in starting the argument also led to the lesser charge.

Montie, an avid gardener and outdoorsman, grew up in Valatie and graduated from Ichabod Crane High School before serving in the Army from from 1982 to 1984. 

His wife, Mary Montie, expressed frustration at the sentence of 30 days in jail, having asked that Wolcott get three years in prison instead. She said in court that her life would never be the same as a result of Wolcott's actions. 

“Scotty was a beloved husband, a son, a brother and uncle,” she said. “His untimely, needless death has had a profound effect on all of us.” 

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