CHENANGO COUNTY – On Thursday a Chenango County grand jury revealed a murder indictment for a local man, 36-year-old William D. Sabines Jr. of Preston, claiming he murdered a missing Unadilla man in 2019 and covered up the crime by burning the victim's body and throwing the remains down a well.
On December 2 the New York State Police arrested Sabines for second degree murder, a class A felony. He is also charged with concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence, both class E felonies.
Sabines was arrested following an investigation into the disappearance of 44-year-old Jesse L. Donlin, of Unadilla.
According to a statement from the New York State Police on Friday, “Donlin was reported missing in September of 2019. Investigators worked on the case investigating numerous tips into Donlin’s disappearance. The investigation ultimately led to the discovery that Sabines is responsible for the death of Donlin.”
Donlin was last seen in the Oxford area in early September and had not been heard from since.
Police did not reveal how the victim was killed or when investigators became suspicious of foul play.
In filed court paperwork investigators implied others might be charged in connection to the case, saying Sabines may have acted “in concert” with others. No other arrests related to the case have been made public.
In Chenango County Court on Thursday investigators said Sabines murdered Donlin on property owned by the defendant, at 612 McDonough Road.
The indictment alleges that in September of 2019 “...the defendant believing that a prospective official investigation would take place, did, while acting in concert with others, intentionally prevent the discovery of the body of Jesse L. Donlin by burning said body in a fire pit on his property. Further the defendant did dump the burned remains in a well on McDonough forest state land in Chenango County, State of New York.”
According to the indictment Sabines also removed the victim's vehicle from his property, allegedly leaving it along a remote seasonal road, Shore Road, in the Town of McDonough.
Sabines was remanded to the Chenango County Jail on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.
The investigation was a collaboration of troopers from SP Sidney, members of the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Troop C Major Crimes, Troop C Forensic Identification Unit, Troop C Computer Crimes Unit, Troop C Underwater Recovery Team, New York State Police Canine Unit, New York State Police Counter Terrorism Unit, the Chenango County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Forest Rangers and the Chenango County District Attorney’s Office.
Read more details in tomorrow's Evening Sun