NORWICH – Convicted murderer Peter M. Wlasiuk’s sentencing was delayed Tuesday on a technicality as the defense fought to have the verdict tossed out, alleging a court error and jury misconduct.
A jury found Wlasiuk, 39, guilty on Sept. 26 of the second degree murder of his wife.
Prosecutors argued at the trial that Wlasiuk smothered his wife Patricia at their Oxford home in 2002 and later staged a truck accident at Guilford Lake, in which he claimed she drowned.
Six years ago, another Chenango County jury also convicted Wlasiuk of second degree murder, but the New York State Appellate Division overturned that verdict in 2006, citing a number of procedural and conduct errors by the court and DA’s Office.
Defense Attorney Randel Scharf of Cooperstown argued to have the guilty verdict set aside and sentencing delayed yesterday, asking the court to hold a hearing to investigate if jury misconduct took place.
Scharf’s arguments were based on a statement he took from one of the jurors, Jason Lyons, accusing another juror, podiatrist Dr. James Lentini, of possible misconduct for allegedly offering inappropriate medical advice during the deliberations.
Although Scharf had no statements from jurors to the specifics of the misconduct, he said that during the course of his interviews, he discovered similar concerns and said others told him that Lentini claimed to have performed autopsies. “He’s a foot doctor. I don’t know why he’d be talking about autopsies,” said Scharf.