HUDSON—March 31, Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek sentenced defendant Arthur Morgan to 25 years in prison for the homicide of his wife, Angela Morgan, according to a press release from District Attorney Paul Czajka.
Twenty-five years is the maximum sentence, DA Czajka told The Columbia Paper this week.
A Columbia County Jury found Mr. Morgan, 51, guilty of first degree manslaughter March 17. The jurors reached their verdict after 16 hours of deliberations.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office had charged Mr. Morgan in the death of his wife April 11, 2008 after her body was found wrapped in a blanket underneath the couple’s mobile home in Claverack. Angela Morgan was 27.
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.
Mr. Morgan has been housed in Columbia County Jail since his conviction was overturned.
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Hudson Police donate body armor to Ukraine
HUDSON—Hudson City Police Department presented dozens of bullet proof vests and Kevlar SWAT helmets to representatives of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 59 Partition Street, for immediate shipment to Ukraine, March 31.
The body armor manufacturer certifies their vests for a period of five years, which coincides with a federal grant which also requires periodic vest replacement. Labor contract obligations as well as liability issues also necessitate the vests’ routine replacement. An inventory of surplus equipment at HPD showed a growing collection of old vests.
“We have been trying to determine the best way to dispose of these vests and helmets. You just can’t throw these things in a landfill, and there is a substantial cost to our city associated with having them burned or shredded by an authorized company,” HPD Sr. Firearms Instructor Lieutenant Andy Moon said in a press release.
Some of the equipment was tested at the department’s firearms range. While the vests and helmets have been taken out of service, HPD found that the equipment is still very effective at stopping small caliber bullets and shrapnel.
World events prompted Chief Moore to contact Father Wolodymyr Paszko, a priest at St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Hudson. Father Paszko has been arranging weekly shipments of medical supplies and food to Ukraine.
“Father Paszko is a lifelong friend,” Police Chief L. Edward Moore said in the release. “A couple years ago we partnered together and shipped Hudson’s abandoned bicycles to an orphanage in Ukraine. With the vest rotation and the suspension of our SWAT team, this was the most logical and best use for our old vests and helmets. I am sure all of our citizens agree. Our used equipment, which probably would have been scrapped, could actually save the life of an innocent civilian or child.”
Police crackdown on distracted driving
LIVINGSTON—State Police will participate in a national crackdown on distracted driving as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The enforcement effort, called Operation Hang Up, will include increased patrols and checkpoints targeting drivers using electronic devices while behind the wheel. This year’s enforcement detail will run from through Monday, April 11.
Troopers will use both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe distracted driving violations. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
“Distracted Driving continues to be a leading factor in motor vehicle crashes. Yet, the deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving are 100% preventable. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings and consciously reduce distractions and behaviors that take their attention from the road. State Police will continue to work toward making New York’s roads safer and we will hold distracted drivers accountable,” State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said in a press release.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were killed in the United States in distraction-affected crashes in 2020. To help prevent more tragedies, NHTSA recommends the following for motorists:
*If you must send or receive a text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first
*If you have passengers, appoint a “designated texter” to handle all your texting
*If you can’t resist the temptation to look at your phone, keep it in the trunk
Current New York State law includes the following penalties for distracted drivers:
*For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum is $200
*A second offense in 18 months increases the maximum fine to $250
*A third offense in 18 months results in a maximum fine of $450
*Probationary and junior drivers face a 120-day suspension of their license for a first offense, and one-year revocation of their permit or license if a second offense is committed within six months.