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Chateaugay man pleads not guilty to charge alleging he murdered his dad


MALONE - A Chateaugay man pleaded not guilty to allegations he bludgeoned his father to death in February during his arraignment Monday in Malone Town Court .

Dale Jarvis Jr., 24, is charged with one count of second-degree murder. He was arraigned before Malone Town Justice Michael Lamitie and sent to the Franklin County Jail without bail pending his next court appearance. He is represented by Franklin County Public Defender Thomas Soucia.

District Attorney Derek Champagne read a letter dated Aug. 23 aloud at the arraignment that indicated Jarvis Jr. and Mr. Soucia had agreed he would waive his right to a speedy trial and preliminary hearing.

If convicted, Jarvis Jr. could face anywhere from 20 years to life in state prison.

Jarvis Jr. appeared for his arraignment dressed in an orange county jail jumpsuit and shackled. He was flanked by a Franklin County Sheriff’s Department deputy, a uniformed state police trooper and a state police investigator. He appeared somber, looking down at the floor most of the time and answered Justice Lamitie’s questions in one-word answers.

Jarvis Jr. is accused in an Aug. 27 felony complaint of killing his father, Dale Jarvis Sr., by striking him in the head with a blunt object at 12:30 a.m. on or about Feb. 21.

“We’re having ongoing discussions [with prosecutors] and we’ll take it from there,” Mr. Soucia said, declining further comment.

Jarvis Sr.’s disappearance was not initially reported to law enforcement because he often went away for extended periods of time with no word, Champagne said.Mr. Jarvis Sr.’s father, Maynard Jarvis of Churubusco, said in July that his son had not spoken to him in several years because he reported one of his disappearances to law enforcement.

The state police Troop B Forensic Investigation Unit discovered Mr. Jarvis Sr.’s body buried about five-and-a-half feet underground behind his 14 White St., Chateaugay, residence on July 23. Mr. Jarvis Sr. had been the focus of a two-week missing persons investigation until his body was found.

Mr. Champagne said in addition to the body forensic investigators located a second dig site on the White Street property, where Mr. Jarvis Sr.’s personal documents, including his wallet and driver’s license, were found buried about 11 feet down.

“It was very readily apparent at the autopsy that blunt force trauma was the cause of death,” Mr. Champagne said, declining to comment further on what is believed to be the murder weapon or if one was found.

Police discovered that in the days following the alleged murder Jarvis Jr. was frantically trying to get his father’s backhoe repaired, which he allegedly used to dig the shallow grave, Mr. Champagne said.

“It’s still under investigation if he was buried when he was killed,” Champagne said, adding that he believes there was “an intervening period of time” between when Mr. Jarvis Sr. was killed and when he was buried.

State police Troop B Commander Major Richard Smith said last month that the body was found buried in a garden behind the house that a witness said in a deposition had been disturbed recently.

Mr. Champagne said police focused on Jarvis Jr. after witnesses came forward and gave information that indicated Jarvis Sr. had been missing for months. He said Jarvis Jr. had told different family members different stories to explain his father’s whereabouts.

Jarvis Sr.’s brother, Allen Jarvis, said in July that Jarvis Jr. claimed he buried a mattress and box spring in the garden where the body was found using a backhoe in the days after his father mysteriously disappeared.

Jarvis Jr. has claimed on a night in late February a group of men came to the house and Mr. Jarvis Sr. went outside to talk to them, according to Allen Jarvis. He said Jarvis Jr. claims his father came back inside, gave him his keys and cell phone and left, saying he was “going south.”

“It’s quite often if someone isn’t telling the trut, it’s hard to keep their stories straight,” Mr. Champagne said, adding that Jarvis never gave a good reason as to why he was digging holes around his father’s property in the days after the alleged murder.

He added that witnesses said Jarvis Jr. was obsessed with the areas where the body and personal affects were buried.

Jarvis Jr. is to reappear at 9:30 a.m Sept. 25 in Malone Town Court.

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