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Three indicted in Ogdensburg man’s 2010 murder

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CANTON — A St. Lawrence County grand jury Tuesday indicted three men in the 2010 slaying of Ralph “Gene” Lawton, Ogdensburg.

Anthony W. Lalonde, 31, of 1106 Ford St., Michael S. Thorpe, 25, of 904 Elizabeth St., and Michael D. Durand, 29, of 513 Elizabeth St., were charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree murder. They were arraigned in St. Lawrence County Court and taken to the county jail without bail.

The three are accused of causing severe injuries to Mr. Lawton that led to his death Nov. 18, 2010, at his 930 Ford St. home, according to court documents.

An autopsy of the 83-year-old man showed he received numerous blows to the chest, and it appeared Mr. Lawton did not put up much of a struggle, the coroner said in 2010.

Mr. Lawton’s roommate of more than two years, Guy C. Bartlett, told Northern New York Newspapers in 2010 that the attackers did not beat Mr. Lawton to death. He also said that during the struggle he was thrown into Mr. Lawton, which he suspects may have killed his roommate. The attack, he said, could have been drug-related.

“We never forgot what happened,” said Detective Sgt. Robert H. Wescott. “You don’t move forward on rumor and innuendos. You move forward on facts.”

Mr. Wescott said after consulting with the district attorney’s office, a grand jury indictment was appropriate.

Mr. Bartlett, 65, still lives in the upstairs apartment he shared with Mr. Lawton. Told Tuesday of the arrests, he said he’s glad but still sad for his departed friend.

“It should never have happened,” Mr. Bartlett said. “Gene was too nice a guy for this to happen to him. Gene would do anything for you.”

Johnson Newspapers reporter Brian Kidwell contributed to this report.

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