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Love gone bad leads to long prison term in Franklin County

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MALONE - A Plattsburgh man charged with four violent felonies following a 2011 home invasion in Malone admitted to all the charges in Franklin County Court on Wednesday.

Daniel R. DeCarlo II, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault, and first-degree gang assault. The court has committed to no harsher than a determinate sentence of 14 years behind bars, to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

DeCarlo and two accomplices, Todd Knudson and Brandon Collins, both 20, of Plattsburgh, broke into the home of Jeffrey Durant, 33, in the early hours of June 26, 2011. DeCarlo then assaulted Durant with a crowbar and fractured his skull.

Mr. Durant fled from the house, was picked up by a friend on County Route 25, and brought to Alice Hyde Medical Center for treatment. He was transferred to Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington, Vt. with non-life-threatening injuries. District Attorney Derek Champagne said he has scarring, but no brain damage.

DeCarlo was motivated by a romantic rivalry. Mr. Durant was dating his ex-girlfriend, with whom DeCarlo also has a child.

Knudson testified at DeCarlo’s preliminary hearing in August that he and Collins were picked up by DeCarlo in Plattsburgh on the night of June 25. He testified they were both intoxicated and did not know they were going to assault a sleeping man in his home, but rather thought they were going to backup a fight.

“Me and Brandon were supposed to be his [DeCarlo’s] backups,” Knudson testified at the hearing. “If it was just them two, we were gonna stay out of it.”

“There is sufficient evidence that they thought they were going as backup to a fight between two people,” Mr. Champagne said Wednesday. He added that neither Collins or Knudson knew Mr. Durant.

Champagne said Knudson is expected to take a plea deal not to exceed 2 1/3 to seven years in prison, while Mr. Collins has signed a plea deal that calls for a six-year determinate prison term.

He said Knudson was quick to aid law enforcement and evidence shows that he did not touch or hold Mr. Durant during the attack,but Collins did.

“All indications we have show Mr. Knudson immediately ran out the door,” Mr. Champagne said in a phone interview. “They [Knudson and Collins] clearly didn’t have the mental culpability to commit murder.”

He said DeCarlo had sent threatening text messages to Mr. Durant that escalated in their level of threat over the course of the night. He also came to Malone equipped with night vision goggles and a map to Mr. Durant’s house.

“DeCarlo stated he was going to kill anyone involved with the mother of his child,” Mr. Champagne said Wednesday.

DeCarlo was located by state police the morning of June 26. He was hiding in the lockeroom of the Malone Country Club soaking wet, claiming he fell in the Branch Brook while fishing, then later changed his story to he fell into the Salmon River while fishing.

DeCarlo’s sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 10 in Franklin County Court. In other county court business before Judge Robert G. Main Jr. on Wednesday:

■ William J. King, 45, of Akwesasne was sentenced to two to four years in state prison as a second felony offender for an attempted third-degree burglary conviction.

He had previously pleaded guilty to the charge by superior court information. He was originally charged with second-degree burglary, stemming from an Oct. 15, 2011 offense.

In a separate case, King was sentenced to a year in the Franklin County Jail, to run concurrent to his state prison term, for first-degree aggravatde unlicensed operation (AUO) and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated convictions. He was additionally fined $2,500 for the AUO and $1,000 for the DWI and had his license revoked.

He pleaded guilty to the charges on May 11, having been previously indicted by a grand jury. The charges stem from a June 8, 2011 offense.

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