Jury Finds Clayton Guilty of First- and Second-Degree Murder
BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - After deliberating for nearly six hours, a jury has found Thomas Clayton guilty of first- and second-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 29, 2015 death of his wife, Kelley.
The maximum penalty for the first-degree murder conviction is life in prison without parole. The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Clayton's defense attorney Ray Schlather announced during closing arguments on Tuesday that a second-degree murder charge in relation to attempted arson had been dropped.
The jury of nine men and three women received instructions from Judge Peter Bradstreet and began their deliberations at 10:37 a.m. Wednesday. Around 12:30 p.m., the jury briefly returned to the courtroom to have Judge Bradstreet read back definition of charges against Clayton. Court adjourned for the day around 4:10 p.m.
Deliberations resumed Thursday morning.
Prosecutors say Clayton, a Binghamton native and former Elmira Jackals hockey player, hired a former employee, Michael Beard, to kill Kelley.
Beard was found guilty in November 2016 of first- and second-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27.
A third man, Mark Blandford, also faces charges in connection with Kelley's murder. Blandford is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary and two counts of conspiracy. Those charges will be reduced to second-degree manslaughter in exchange for his testimony. He is currently in Steuben County Jail.