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District Attorney

Posted on: March 24, 2021

District Attorney Hoovler Announces Another Guilty Plea in Four Defendant Homicide/Kidnapping Case

   Orange County News
 
For Immediate Release                                Contact: Christopher Borek
March 24, 2021 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c

 

District Attorney Hoovler Announces Another Guilty Plea 

in Four Defendant Homicide/Kidnapping Case

 

Courtney Clemenza, one of Four Defendants Charged in Connection with the Kidnapping and Homicide of Man in the Town of Goshen on December 18, 2019, Pleads Guilty to 

Manslaughter in the Second Degree

 

 

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, Courtney Clemenza, 33, of Chester, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to Manslaughter in the Second Degree.  The plea was in connection with the December 18, 2019, death of a man beaten and bound on Kipp Road in the Town of Goshen. Three other individuals, Robert Haskell, 55, Timothy Smith, 37, and Seth Pelsang, 31, all of Goshen, were also previously charged in connection with the man’s death. On September 4, 2020, Pelsang had pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree.

Haskell, Smith and Pelsang had been charged with crimes including Murder in the Second Degree and Kidnapping in the Second Degree. Haskell was also charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. Clemenza was charged with crimes including Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Kidnapping in the Second Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. 

During prior court appearances prosecutors argued that on December 18, 2019, the deceased man went to the house where Haskell, Pelsang and Smith lived armed with a shotgun.  After the man was disarmed by the residents and restrained, Haskell then beat him with a baseball bat. Prosecutors argued that all the defendants helped tie-up the injured man.  The man was placed inside Clemenza’s car and then she drove to another area in the Village of Chester where the victim was left on the side of the road, bound and wounded. After about twenty minutes a motorist noticed the motionless, bound man.   He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.   

At the time Clemenza pleaded guilty, she admitted that on December 18, 2019, she acted in concert with others in tying-up the man who had been beaten with a baseball bat and transporting him in a car and leaving him on the side of the road bound and helpless. Clemenza faces up to five to fifteen years in state prison when she is sentenced.

Clemenza is next scheduled to appear in court on July 15, 2021. Haskell and Smith are next scheduled to appear in court on April 6, 2021.  

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their investigation and the arrest of the defendants, as well as the Village of Chester Police who aided in the investigation.  

 “Individuals cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands or settle disputes with violence,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “This man suffered a violent death that was as foreseeable as it was preventable.”

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl. 

This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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