Powell questions deputy during murder retrial

HUDSON—Though highly irregular and not typically permitted, defendant Warren Powell was allowed to briefly question a witness, Friday, April 3, during the second day of testimony in his retrial for the strangulation murder of his wife.
     Mr. Powell, 38, who is from Valatie but was living in the Saratoga County community of Halfmoon at the time of the crime, is charged with second degree murder. The indictment alleges that Mr. Powell murdered his wife, Mary Ann (Tasick) Powell, 21, on or about October 1, 1994.
     Mrs. Powell was six-months pregnant with the couple’s first child. Her body, tied up and stuffed a hockey bag weighted down with rocks, was discovered in the Hudson River May 25, 1996 by campers hiking near Gay’s Point in Stockport.
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Murder retrial starts in case of man charged with killing his wife

HUDSON—It has taken 5 years, but the retrial of Warren Powell for the strangling his pregnant wife 15 years ago finally got started in Columbia County Court last week.
     Mr. Powell, 38, is originally from Valatie, but was living in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, at the time of the crime. He is charged with second degree murder, a class A-1 felony. The indictment alleges that on or about October 1, 1994, Mr. Powell caused the death of his wife, Mary Ann (Tasick) Powell, 21, who was six-months pregnant.
     Officials do not know exactly when or where she was killed, but Mrs. Powell’s decomposing remains were discovered in the Hudson River by campers as they hiked along the shore line, near Gay’s Point in Stockport, May 25, 1996, Memorial Day weekend. Her body was tied up and stuffed in a hockey bag weighted down with rocks. She had apparently been strangled.
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New trial ordered in Hillsdale murder case

ALBANY—The second degree murder conviction of William Demagall has been reversed by a state appellate court. The decision, which faults rulings by County Court Judge Paul Czajka, was issued Thursday, April 2.
     The decision not only overturns the conviction but also requires Mr. Demagall to have a new trial before a different judge.
    On December 8, 2006 a Columbia County Court jury convicted Mr. Demagall, then 23, of stabbing and bludgeoning to death George Mancini in February of that year. Mr. Mancini, 56, a retired schoolteacher, was murdered at his home on Breezy Hill Road, just off Route 23 in Hillsdale.

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County schools receive $4.5M aid increase

CHATHAM—Tentative school aid figures for all public school districts in the state were released Tuesday, March 31, as the legislature began passing the bills that make up the 2009-10 state budget. All districts in Columbia County will see increases in state aid under the proposal and the combined increase for the county is $4.5 million, thanks in part to assistance in the federal economic recovery act introduced by President Obama.
     Democrats, who control the Assembly and the Senate, scrambled Tuesday, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to adopt the budget ahead of the April 1 deadline set by the state constitution. Republicans, meanwhile, criticized the return to the practice of previous years, which saw budget details worked out in private by the governor and the leaders of the two houses of the legislature.
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