CANAJOHARIE -- One Canajoharie man was dead and another was facing charges after a Monday night fight on Walnut Street, according to police.
Joseph T. Herting, 63, of 71 Walnut St., died from injuries he suffered when another man pushed him down some stairs and repeatedly punched him, police said.
Stanley T. Hall, 55, who lives in another room at the Walnut Street address, was charged with second-degree assault after the incident. It was unclear Wednesday if further charges were being considered.
Police were called to the Walnut Street apartment building at about 11:20 p.m. on New Year's Eve for a report of a man bleeding on the steps. Officers arrived to find Herting lying on the front stairs. He later died, and an autopsy confirmed he suffered critical injuries consistent with the fight.
Officers also found Hall lying on the sidewalk in front of the apartment building, apparently uninjured. He was taken into custody.
As officers canvassed the area, they found witnesses who saw or overheard part of the fight. They also found surveillance cameras that captured images of the attack, police said.
One witness told police the two men had argued days earlier over space in a refrigerator, according to court documents.
The witness also recounted how a series of three loud thumps outside drew his attention to the Monday night incident, and the witness saw a man believed to be Hall grab Herting by his jacket and throw him down the steps. The witness described the attacker as "a black male who I believe is named Stanley" and the victim by the nickname "Taz."
"After Taz got thrown down the stairs, the black male who I believe is named Stanley jump(ed) on top of Taz and start(ed) wailing on him ... I am not sure how many time(s) the black male struck Taz but he was hitting him pretty rapidly," the witness told police in the typed statement.
The witness described the attacker hitting Herting in "almost like a stabbing motion." The witness also saw "blood and food all over the porch."
Police initially filed the assault charge against Hall after conferring with Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski. McCoski could not be reached for comment later about whether the autopsy findings could result in upgraded charges.
Hall was arraigned on the assault charge and ordered held on $30,000 bail.
Canajoharie police were assisted by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, Fort Plain Police Department, the Canajoharie Fire Department and the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The state police also assisted.
The investigation was continuing Wednesday. Anyone with information or who had contact with either the victim or the suspect Monday evening is asked to contact the Canajoharie Police Department at 518-673-3331.
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