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District Attorney

Posted on: February 14, 2020

District Attorney Hoovler Announces Charges in Four Defendant Homicide/Kidnapping Case

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District Attorney Hoovler Announces Charges 

in Four Defendant Homicide/Kidnapping Case

Four Defendants Charged in Connection with the Kidnapping and Homicide 

of Man in the Town of Goshen on December 18, 2019

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on Thursday, February 13, 2020, Robert Haskell, 55, Timothy Smith, 37, Seth Pelsang, 30, all of Goshen, and Courtney Clemenza, 32, of Chester, were arraigned before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown in connection with the December 18, 2019, slaying of a man on Kipp Road in the Town of Goshen.

Haskell, Smith and Pelsang were 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 the bail application 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 that he was driven to another area in the Village of Chester where he 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.   

Clemenza, Pelsang and Haskell were remanded to the Orange County Jail with no bail. Smith was remanded to the jail in lieu of bail in the amount of $750,000 cash, $5,000,000 secured bond or $6,000,000 partially secured bond. Haskell is next scheduled to appear in court on February 27, 2020; Smith on February 24, 2020; Pelsang on February 20, 2020 and Clemenza on February 25, 2020.

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.  

 “This man suffered a violent death that was as foreseeable as it was preventable,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Individuals cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands or settle disputes with violence. My deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased victim.”

The case is being prosecuted by 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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