BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A judge gave a light sentence for a man who admitted to the strangulation death of his neighbor and tenant.
Harold Wolcott, 40, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years’ probation.
“Looking from the outside it seems peculiar and 30 days in jail was the result. When you burrow down to all the facts and all the legal issues that were involved, it’s really not that unusual of a disposition,” Michael McDermott, Wolcott’s defense attorney, said.
It all began nearly a year ago when the manager of a Milton trailer park responded to complaints of loud music around 1 a.m. An altercation ensued that ended with Wolcott charged with the manslaughter of 51-year-old Scott Montie.
Developments over the next year would turn the case on its head, and according to Wolcott’s lawyer, point the finger at the victim instead.
“He was attacked. He tried to restrain Mr. Montie and initiated the phone call to the police. Unexpectedly, Mr. Montie was in distress by the time police arrived.”
He later passed away after being held in a headlock by Wolcott. An autopsy showed Montie had pre-existing medical conditions and was drunk.
A grand jury returned the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide. A plea deal was then struck with the DA’s office.
“They wanted to see that the defendant accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty to a felony and that was achieved in this case,” DA Karen Heggen said.
Montie’s wife had a change of heart about the brief jail time asking for a tougher sentence that would never come to be.
He has agreed to pay about $9,000 in restitution to cover the cost of Montie’s funeral.