Morgan convicted of manslaughter in wife’s death

Arthur Morgan, Jr. (center) going into the county courthouse in Hudson on March 11. Mr. Morgan was convicted of first degree manslaughter on March 17. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—A Columbia County jury convicted defendant Arthur Morgan, Jr., 51, of first degree manslaughter in the death of his wife, Angela Morgan, Thursday, March 17, according to a press release from District Attorney Paul Czajka.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office charged Mr. Morgan in the death of his wife on April 11, 2008 after her body was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed underneath the couple’s mobile home in Claverack. Mrs. Morgan was 27.

The jurors reached their verdict after about 16 hours of deliberations, which began Tuesday and ended Thursday.

Judge Richard Koweek will sentence Mr. Morgan March 31. He faces up to 25 years in state prison.

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty prosecuted the case, with Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Carlucci.

“This was a domestic violence-related homicide in which the defendant brutally killed his wife, disposed of her body in a gruesome fashion and left her family and friends in anguish,” DCADA Carty said in the release. “I am grateful that Angela’s family members finally have closure and for the due diligence of the Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies in this investigation.”

This is the second trial in this case. Mr. Morgan’s initial conviction in 2009 was overturned in 2017 after the Appellate Division, Third Department ruled the trial court improperly barred him from testifying in his first trial.

DA Czajka commended the work of ADA Carty noting, “All homicides are particularly difficult cases to try. This case was more difficult than most for several reasons: among them, and most problematic, two forensic pathologists, including the most skilled I have ever had the fortune of working with, Dr. Jeff Hubbard, were unable to determine a cause of death; secondly, the case was over 15 years old. The fact that Ryan was able to secure any conviction is a testament to his skill and the quality of the sheriff’s investigators’ work.”

Albany-based attorney Steven Sharp represents Mr. Morgan.

Copake

State Police in conjunction with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office arrested James Blass, 82, of Copake for possession of a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony, March 14.

After receiving a law enforcement tip, investigators determined Mr. Blass was in possession of child pornography.

He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Copake Court, March 28.

In a press release, District Attorney Paul Czajka said, “The defendant, James Blass, is a former Columbia County undersheriff and Copake town justice. Pursuant to the bail reform laws instituted by the NYS Legislature in 2020, the State Police were required to issue an appearance ticket to the defendant rather than to seek an order incarcerating him pending trial.”

With respect to the underlying investigation, the DA commended the State Police and the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

The latter alerted the State Police ICAC Unit (Internet Crimes Against Children) to their discovery of an image of child-pornography allegedly found on one of the defendant’s internet accounts. The ICAC Unit, together with the NYSP Computer Crimes unit and SP Livingston investigators, followed up on this report. With a search warrant issued by Columbia County Court, they seized various devices owned by the defendant.

To contact Diane Valden email

East Chatham’s traffic lights are up and glowing. The traffic lights on the one-way Albany Turnpike Bridge in East Chatham are finally operational. These are the only traffic lights in the Town of Chatham and were a long time coming. The bridge, which goes over train tracks, was replaced by CSX, the company that owns the tracks, in 2013. The new one-bridge caused several residents to come to the Town Board with concerns about the safety of the crossing just off of state Route 295. It took several years, and three different town supervisors, to get final approval from the state Department of Transportation and for construction to start. Pictured is the entrance from Route 295 onto the bridge entrance. Photo by R. E. Lindmark

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