SARATOGA SPRINGS -- A Saratoga County Court jury convicted a Saratoga Springs man of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death last summer of Patrick Collins.
The jury convicted Albert M. Mercer, 63, of Zephyr Lane, of the Class B felony manslaughter charge and a lower-level felony, tampering with physical evidence. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced by acting County Court Judge Robert Sise. He remains in custody.
Mercer was on trial for second-degree murder and was acquitted on the murder charge, but the jury was allowed to consider the lesser manslaughter charge, and it convicted on that charge.
"The jury methodically and diligently reviewed all the physical and testimonial evidence presented and found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant Mercer had acted with intent to cause serious physical injury to Patrick Collins and caused Patrick Collins' death," said District Attorney Karen A. Heggen.
The incident occurred on July 1, 2018, outside Mercer's residence, which is just off South Broadway. The prosecution said the men got into a confrontation over Mercer having shoved his wife, Lori -- Collins' cousin. That incident occurred the previous evening, and led to Lori Mercer spending the night elsewhere.
She returned to the residence the next morning, according to the district attorney's account, but Collins, 46, of Middle Grove, remained concerned for her welfare and went to the residence because Lori Mercer wasn't responding to his text messages. (She had fallen asleep.) He went to the residence and knocked on the door, which led to an argument between him and Mercer.
"During this dispute, the defendant asked Patrick to, 'Take it outside.' Patrick exited the residence while the defendant grabbed an 11.5-inch, military-style knife with a 6-inch blade and pursued Patrick outside," the prosecution's summary stated. "The conflict continued outside and culminated in the defendant thrusting the knife into Patrick's chest, causing his death."
Mercer's defense claimed he believed Collins was going to get a weapon, but prosecutors said there was no credible proof of that.
Saratoga Springs police arrested Mercer shortly after the incident. City police officers testified, as did state police who conducted forensic examinations. The jury heard more than 25 witnesses during the two-week trial, and deliberated for two days, returning the verdict late Thursday morning.