Babcock pleads guilty in Billy Lee death

NORWICH Accused murderer Richard T. Babcock admitted in Chenango County Court Monday that he was the trigger man in the November 2008 slaying of William E. Lee.

Babcock, 27, has maintained his innocence since his arrest 19 months ago, but decided to accept a plea deal late last week, according to Public Defender Alan Gordon.

Appearing before Acting Chenango County Court Judge Joseph F. Cawley Jr. of Broome County, Babcock told the court a 72-hour drug binge led to Lees shooting. He also said hed argued with the deceased about obtaining more drugs; the defense claims Lee was a local drug dealer.

I was using drugs for approximately three days, a binge on cocaine, said Babcock. We had a brief argument and I shot him in the head and took the narcotics.

Prosecutors accused Babcock of approaching the 61-year-old Norwich native while he was on his couch at his Tanner Hill home. They say Babcock shot Lee in the head with a 16-gauge shotgun at point-blank range. The cause of death was confirmed by Pathologist Dr. James Terzian, who performed an autopsy at St. Marys Hospital in Amsterdam.

Gordon said his client would be sentenced to 15 years in state prison under the plea arrangement.

District Attorney Joseph McBride said the agreement was made with the consent of the family, who wished to put the tragedy behind them.

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