Gulity plea in Spring Valley stabbing death

Just this afternoon, a Spring Valley man accused of stabbing his roomate to death during a drunken fight pleaded guilty  to first-degree manslaughter in state Supreme Court in New City.

Juan Aguilar-Galvez, 40, faces 15 years in prison on Jan. 11 in the stabbing death Feb. 21 of his roommate, Candido del los Santo-Hernandez, 27, who suffered 14 stab wounds during the fight inside their Dutch Lane apartment. He faced a maximum of 25 years.

On Monday, Aguilar-Galvez’ lawyer, public defender Kenneth Murphy, asked for a non-jury trial before Justice William Kelly on a second-degree murder charge

All that changed today. Following a conference with the judge and protracted discussions with witnesses and the Spring Valley Police Department today, Rockland prosecutors Dominic Crispino and Richard Kennison Moran agreed to a plea to manslaughter with Murphy and Kelly.

“We believe that this disposition was fair, appropriate and in the interest of justice,” Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said, adding the plea decision relied on the “strength of the evidence and serious state of intoxication of the defendant and victim at the time of the incident.”

Even if a trial had been held, Kelly could have considered the lesser first-degree manslaughter charge instead of the murder count.

At the time of Aguilar-Galvez’s arrest, Spring Valley police said he was a naturalized citizen who had lived in the United States for 20 years. Because of this conviction, he faces deportation after he serves his sentence, Zugibe said.

A lighter moment in mayor’s domestic violence trial

At every trial, no matter how grave the allegations, there are moments of levity. It was no different today during the domestic violence trial of White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley (left) in Westchester County Court.

When one witness — a friend and neighbor of the Bradleys — was asked if she could identify the  mayor in the courtroom, she described a man wearing “a dark suit, red tie and light blue shirt.”

One problem — Bradley’s lawyer, Luis Andrew Penichet, was wearing the exact same ensemble.

When Judge Susan Capeci pointed this out, the courtroom filled with laughter and Penichet threw up his arms and said he would stipulate that the witness was describing his client.

The rest of the trial was serious, as Penichet defended the mayor against six misdemeanor charges and three violations that include assault, witness tampering and harassment. Two White Plains police officers and the Bradley’s neighbor took the stand, but their testimony took a back seat to that of Fumiko Bradley, the mayor’s wife, who brought the original charges against her husband in February.

To read more about the trial’s first day, click here.

9th JD race: An update with likely winners

With all but four voting districts in Westchester reporting results from Tuesday’s election, the race may be over for four state Supreme Court seats in the 9th Judicial District.

The district covers Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties.

Justices Emmett Murphy and Lawrence Ecker were far ahead in the eight-candidate race, with Murphy getting 435,932 votes and Ecker getting 280,794, according to unofficial results Thursday. Murphy, who ran on both Republican and Democratic lines, won his second 14-year term. Ecker, who was appointed to the bench, won his first full term.

The other incumbent, Justice Colleen Duffy, was in third place with 249,495 votes. The last seat will probably go to Rockland County Family Court Judge Linda Christopher, who has 243,128 votes.

The other candidates fell behind with the latest vote counts in Westchester. Westchester County Legislator James Maisano had 235,803 votes; Suffern Village Justice Matthew Byrne had 235,029 votes; and Cortlandt Town Justice Gerald Klein had 178,430 votes. James Burke, who ran solely on an anti-abortion line, was a distant last.

All vote tallies are unofficial.

State Supreme Court judges generally preside over civil cases. They make $136,700 a year.

State Supreme Court race still too close to call in 9th JD

Fifteen hours after the polls have closed, there seem to be two winners and two toss-ups in the race for state Supreme Court justice in the 9th Judicial District, which covers Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties.

Justices Emmett Murphy and Lawrence Ecker were far ahead in the eight-candidate race, with Murphy getting 397,061 votes and Ecker getting 251,179, according to unofficial vote results. Murphy won his second 14-year term while Ecker, who was appointed to the bench, won his first full term.

The other incumbent, Justice Colleen Duffy, held a slight edge over her competitors, with 222,750 votes. But Westchester County, by far the most populated county in the judicial district, has yet to count 25 percent of its ballots, so Duffy still faces heated competiti0n from Rockland County Family Court Judge Linda Christopher with 217,114 votes, Suffern Village Justice Matthew Byrne with 218,893 votes and Westchester County Legislator James Maisano with 217,846 votes. All vote tallies are unofficial.

State Supreme Court judges generally preside over civil cases. They make $136,700 a year.