NORWICH – Defense attorney Mark Loughran and Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride offered jurors their respective summations in the murder trial of Peter Wlasiuk Thursday, bringing three weeks of testimony to a close.
This is Wlasiuk’s third trial for the alleged murder of his wife, Patricia, in April of 2002. According to the prosecution, Wlasiuk murdered Patricia at the couple’s Oxford home, later engineering a staged accident at Guilford Lake to conceal the crime. Two prior convictions, in 2003 and 2008, were successfully appealed, in 2006 and 2011, respectively.
Wlasiuk has maintained his innocence, first saying Patricia was driving his 1998 GMC pick-up truck east along County Road 35 when she lost control of the vehicle in order to avoid hitting a deer, veered into the lake and subsequently drowned. Wlasiuk later changed his story, however, stating the couple were arguing when his wife intentionally drove into the lake.
Loughran, in his closing statement, maintained his client’s innocence, and spent more than three and a half hours – the entire morning session – trying to convince the jury to come back with a verdict of not guilty. According to Loughran, “everything changed in this case” on April 5, when Wlasiuk was interviewed by Undersheriff James Lloyd, a Chenango County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Detective at the time. From that point on, said Loughran, it was a “search for a crime that did not occur.”