NORWICH – The matter of the People vs. John M. Guzy unexpectedly concluded posthaste in Chenango County Court, on Wednesday, April 6 before the Honorable Frank B. Revoir Jr., who acted as judge and jury after presiding over the peculiar ‘road rage’ murder trial, for a mere three days.
“My son was great man, he was a warm soul and everybody loved him, he is dearly missed. It's satisfying; nothing will ever bring my son back obviously or replace what we're missing from him being gone. But justice has been served and that is the main thing,” said Derek S. Prindle father of deceased Derek D. Prindle following the completion of court. “He was a coward, he was a drunk, he was obviously out of control and running loose in our society, and Joe has put him away so he wont hurt anyone else ever again.”
Revoir’s sole duty of fact-finding and verdict rendering of the matter sprang from an about-face decision by Guzy’s council to waive his Constitutional right to a jury trial only weeks before jury selection was to commence for the 2014 homicide that took place along a stretch of State Highway 7 in Bainbridge.
“This case began in Oct. 2014, myself and a part of my staff went to the scene to get familiar with what happened. The next day I went down to see this man (Father), who was recovering from a gunshot wound. I told him how important he was to make sure he survived and he did. He was able to speak justice here,” said District Attorney McBride.
The prosecution called but one additional witness to the stand in the morning hours of the third day; Forensic Pathologist Dr. James Terzian of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, whom performed the autopsy of the now deceased victim.
The defense offered no witnesses to support the defense of Guzy; instead his attorney – Benjamin Bergman – stated that his client would testify on his own behalf.
Closing statements were heard from the defense and the prosecution following a lunch recess until 1:30 p.m.
During roughly the next hour, closing statements were heard in open court. Judge Revoir stated that he would go to his chambers at around 2:30 p.m., in hopes of reviewing the facts of the case that he had been presented, and in hopes of returning a verdict before 4 p.m.
Just under an hour later, around 3:30 p.m., Revoir returned to the courtroom to read the verdict that the court was imposing on the matter.
Guzy had been formerly indicted on 17 crimes including: murder in the second degree, a class A-1 felony; attempted murder in the second degree, a class B felony; two counts of assault in the first degree, a class B felony; two counts of criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, a class B felony; criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a class C felony; criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a class D felony; tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony; driving while intoxicated, a class A misdemeanor; and six counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor.
The court found Guzy guilty on 15 of the 17 charges listed above, including the top charge of murder in the second degree, a class A-II felony. The court, due to holding the same weight of the assault charges, dismissed two criminal misuse of a firearm charges.
The court immediately erupted with cheering and clapping when the matter was concluded, directly following Judge Revoir’s statement of thanks to everyone present for containing themselves throughout the three-day period in a professional manor.
It should be noted that the minimum sentence for an A-II felony is a 25-years to life sentence.
“I am going to try (to move on), but everyday you wake up with a piece missing from your heart and it is hard to patch in. When you wake up in the morning you think about it. You think maybe he (son) is around and going to work, and then you realize he is not around, and he’s not going to be there. I have a friend who lost his son eight years ago and it is pretty much a daily thing with him,” said Derek S. Prindle. “My entire family and friends, there were men 30, 40, 50, years old who dropped to their knees and cried the day they heard he was shot, and they cried, full grown men cried when they heard of the loss of my son. I don’t want to dwell on what a great guy he was but he was and we'll all miss him.”
Guzy was remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility where he will await sentencing on the matter at a later date, and pre-sentence report was ordered by Revoir.
Bergman requested that he still retained the right to appeal the matter, to which Revoir indicated he did.
While leaving Chenango County Court, Bergman was asked to comment, he responded, “You know I haven’t eaten lunch yet, I'm hungry.”
“When the State Police were at my house during the investigation they were choked up and felt the grief of the family. I think that is very important for people to know in our society with the way things have been going and plus the fact that this was a corrections officer that did this. The police are good people and are to be respected and appreciated. Occasionally we get a rotten egg like this but the system, the State Police and the DA will hopefully weed those people out like that before they can hurt anybody else,” said Derek S. Prindle.
Following the completion of court and while outside with the media, McBride offered his condolences to the Prindle family, and gave praise and thanks to everyone who was involved in the Guzy case.
“The State Police did a fantastic job in this case, not only have they helped with the services at the time of the incident, as well as the Chenango County Sheriff's Office, but since this incident happened over a year and a half ago they have been working on this case. We had two officers assigned full-time this week to make sure all the evidence got in on time. That is the type of service that I need and justice needs to make sure justice is done. I want to make sure I thank them and all the law enforcement involved in this case, thank you,” said McBride.
Carolyn Mullin a Lieutenant with BCI unit of the NYS Police was also present with the media and explained law enforcements take, due to the matter involving a retired NYC Police Officer and current CCCO.
“We go into a case, treating everyone the same. Whether you’re law enforcement or Joe Citizen we're going to do our job and bring people to justice,” said Mullin.
“I would like to thank Joe most of all, a great man, he put this monster and coward away, he wont be able to hurt anyone else. I would like to thank the State Police, their investigation was terrific and instrumental for putting him away; and Judge Revoir I'd like to thank him also for his decision which is just,” said Derek S. Prindle.