Accused killer’s hearing sheds more light on local drug scene

NORWICH – Recalling information collected from a homicide investigation and statements of an accused murderer, police testifying in Chenango County Court Monday offered insights into the local cocaine underworld.

New York State Police arrested 26-year-old Richard T. Babcock on Nov. 14, 2008 while investigating the shooting death of William “Billy” E. Lee.

Babcock was arrested the day after Lee’s body was discovered with a shotgun wound to his head, but he was not immediately charged in connection to the murder.

Instead, Babcock was held on a warrant for criminal sale of a controlled substance in relation to a separate drug investigation. He later pleaded guilty to that and was sentenced to one year in local jail.

Police used the pending drug case to hold Babcock in the Chenango County Correctional Facility for more than seven months while they investigated the homicide. On July 24, 2009, District Attorney Joseph McBride revealed a sealed grand jury indictment for two counts of second degree murder.

Under New York State Law, Babcock can be charged with multiple counts in the same death, because it is alleged he intentionally meant to cause Lee’s death and because he allegedly did so while in the course of an armed robbery.

He also faces charges of first degree robbery and two counts of first degree assault, one count for causing serious physical injury in commission of a felony and a second for using a firearm to do so.

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