CANTON Twice in the chest, once in the head.
That was how Dustin J. Trimm shot and killed 21-year-old Jason M. Wing on Aug. 31, 2010, according to his admission of guilt Friday morning before St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards.
There was silence in the packed courtroom as Trimm quietly answered the judges questions, save for a sharp gasp and quiet sobbing from Mr. Wings mother, Roxanne Stratton, sitting in the second row on the prosecution side of the aisle.
Under a deal reached following lengthy talks Thursday and most of Friday morning, Trimm, 38, Winthrop, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter in Mr. Wings death, as well as to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act in connection with two other cases pending against him. He is facing up to 32 years in prison as a result, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé said. Sentencing is set for Aug. 5.
Nothings ever going to be the right outcome no amount of prison time, nothing, Ms. Stratton said later, outside the courtroom. But youve gotten a sexual predator off the streets for once.
Trimm already was listed as a Level 2 sex offender in the state registry in connection with a 1997 felony conviction for sodomizing a 15-year-old boy.
In addition to facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Mr. Wing, Trimm was indicted in August on two felony counts of disseminating indecent material to a minor, two misdemeanor counts of third-degree patronizing a prostitute and one misdemeanor count each of first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
Earlier this month, he was indicted for allegedly engaging in forcible sexual activity with an 18-year-old and a 13-year-old in early 2010 and early 2011, respectively. His plea on Friday covers both of those cases, Ms. Duvé said, as well as several sexual-assault cases for which charges had not yet been brought. Orders of protection were authorized for as many victims as could be confirmed, she said.
Again, the judge asked Trimm to describe the nature of his crimes. The defendant admitted that he forcibly engaged in anal sex with one victim in January 2010, and forcibly performed oral sex on another in 2011.
Trimm also provided a handwritten statement about Mr. Wings death to the Fort Covington mans family. Ms. Duvé and Ms. Stratton declined to speak about the contents of that document.
I was looking for more answers than what we got, said Tiffany A. Barrick, 30, Fort Covington, who sobbed as she described how Mr. Wing proposed to her in 2009, and how they had planned to be married in 2011.
I still have a million and one questions and a million and one things I want to know that Ill never know, Ms. Barrick said.
The last time family members saw Mr. Wing was in August 2010. Eighteen months of searching and waiting followed, until his remains were unearthed on a Grantville Road property in Norfolk.
In March 2011, family members told a Vermont television station that Mr. Wing was last seen with Trimm, headed to his home. Ms. Stratton later said that Trimm was a friend of her son, but that she long had believed he was responsible for her sons disappearance.
Even with the discovery of Mr. Wings body and Trimms February 2012 arrest, family members had to wait until Friday not just for justice, but to learn when their loved one was killed.
One of the things that was very important to (Ms. Stratton) was to know with certainty the date when her son died, so she could put that date on his headstone, Ms. Duvé said.
A murder trial had been scheduled to begin May 13. Defense attorney Richard V. Manning said that Ms. Duvé had very strong evidence, but that Trimms decision to accept a plea was motivated by concern for family members, including the impact a trial would have on his grandparents, who are in their 90s.
He wanted a trial all along. But he feared that if he put his grandparents through that, it would probably kill them, Mr. Manning said.
Mr. Manning also praised the DA for working to reach a deal that was endorsed by both the defendant and his victims kin.
I dont know if amazed is the right word, to see Ms. Duvé give up two life sentences, Mr. Manning said. She gave those up. She took them off the table.
Ms. Duvé said that wasnt an easy step to take, nor one she took lightly, but it was done in consultation with Mr. Wings family.
In cases like these, were looking to protect the public and to see that justice is done, she said.
The deal would see Trimm sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison for the manslaughter charge, as well as seven years in prison for each of the sex-act charges. Those two charges may be served concurrently with each other, but consecutively with the manslaughter sentence, meaning Trimm is facing up to 32 years in state prison. He will be required to serve at least six-sevenths of that sentence so that, given time served, there is a chance he may be eligible for release in as little as 27 years.
Judge Richards sent Trimm to the St. Lawrence County jail without bail in the manslaughter case. He was released on his own recognizance in the sex-charge case, meaning that the time he spends in jail awaiting sentencing in that case will not count as time served for tabulating his prison term.
Even when he completes his prison term, Trimm will be subject to a prerelease psychological evaluation to determine whether he suffers from some abnormality that might cause him to commit more sex crimes. He then could be subject to an additional period of civil confinement as a result, the judge said.