NORWICH – Peter M. Wlasiuk has been found guilty of murdering his wife in 2002 and staging an accident at Guilford Lake to cover it up.
The jury reached its decision at 11:13 a.m. Friday after nearly seven hours of deliberations. Juror Dr. James Lentini said the jury was deadlocked, nine for conviction and three against, until the discovery of a notation on an evidence form submitted by the defense. The notes on the form describe the circumstances of the investigation to the New York State Police lab in Albany. The notes mention that Patricia Wlasiuk’s diary contained passages that detailed a fear of death at the hands of her husband and a violent relationship.
“Until that point I didn’t think we could’ve broken the deadlock, but here were the victim’s own concerns that her husband might try to kill her,” said Lentini.
The jury asked Broome County Court Judge Martin E. Smith if the document could be considered as evidence, and Smith said, “Yes, you can.” Less than 30 minutes later, the jury returned with a conviction on the charge of second degree murder.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. before Judge Smith. Wlasiuk could be sentenced up to 25 years to life in state prison.
Wlasiuk, 39, was charged with second degree murder in the April 2002 death of his wife, Patricia. Prosecutors contend Wlasiuk killed his wife at their Oxford home and later staged a Guilford Lake, in which he claimed she drowned.
Six years ago, a Chenango County jury convicted Wlasiuk of second degree murder, but the New York State Appellate Division overturned that verdict on Aug. 31, 2006.
Testimony began Sept. 9 in the retrial with McBride calling 58 witnesses and the defense nine.
The first trial lasted from Nov. 6 -21, 2002. McBride called 51 witnesses to the stand and Defense Attorney Fred Neroni called seven.
The original jury deliberated for four hours and 19 minutes before reaching a verdict of guilty. County Court Judge Sullivan sentenced Wlasiuk to state prison for 25 years to life, the maximum, on Jan. 17, 2003.
More details will appear in Monday’s Evening Sun.