NORWICH – The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division on Thursday upheld twice-convicted murderer Peter Wlasiuk’s appeal in the death of his wife, Patricia Wlasiuk, whose body was recovered from Guilford Lake in April of 2002.
Wlasiuk was first convicted of the crime of second degree murder in connection with Patricia’s death, which he maintains was accidental, in 2003. In 2006, that conviction was overturned, due to errors regarding the admittance of prejudicial evidence. As a result, the Chenango County Court granted Wlasiuk’s motion for the dismissal of the original indictment.
Wlasiuk was re-indicted in 2007 and was convicted a second time of second degree murder in 2008. He was subsequently sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division reversed Wlasiuk’s latest conviction on the grounds that he “received ineffective assistance of counsel” from his attorney, Randel Scharf, due to Scharf’s failure to “join in the prosecutor’s request that juror No. 5 be discharged for cause once it became clear that the juror had committed misconduct in obtaining his seat on the jury” and “introduced evidence that this Court previously held to be unduly prejudicial, inadmissible hearsay,” according to the Dec. 29 Supreme Court memorandum.
The evidence in question – entries from a diary allegedly kept by Patricia – was a point of contention in 2008 when Wlasiuk was last convicted. At the time of his sentencing, Wlasiuk said he deserved a new trial, due to the fact that the jury made its decision based on diary entries he had not had a chance to respond to in court. According to the Supreme Court memorandum – in response to a jury note asking if the diary entries could be considered evidence – Wlasiuk’s attorney stated, “Yeah, they can have it. It’s evidence.”