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Appellate court upholds Watertown woman’s manslaughter conviction in boyfriend’s death

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A state appellate court has unanimously upheld the manslaughter conviction of a Watertown woman serving a 27-year sentence in state prison for causing her boyfriend’s death by stabbing him repeatedly in 2010.

Krista M. Goley, 28, a former Fort Drum soldier who is now incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, was convicted in Jefferson County Court in January 2012 of first-degree manslaughter and several other charges. The jury determined that she acted in a way that could cause physical harm or death to Timothy C. Rolland, 21, a former Fort Drum soldier whom she stabbed Sept. 1, 2010, at their residence at 111 E. Lynde St., Apt. 3. The jury found Goley not guilty of second-degree murder.

At trial, Goley’s defense attorney maintained that she was protecting herself against an intoxicated Mr. Rolland, stabbing him with a butcher knife as he raised his hand to strike her. However, witnesses testified that Mr. Rolland was not acting aggressively when he was stabbed. He also suffered eight superficial stab wounds before suffering a 5-inch-deep wound in his chest that proved fatal.

In a recently released decision, the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, rejected Goley’s contention that she acted in self-defense, stating that evidence at trial showed that Mr. Rolland was not using or attempting to use deadly force against Goley, mitigating her legal ability to respond with deadly force to protect herself. She also had told at least five fellow inmates at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building that Mr. Rolland was so intoxicated that he could barely stand, again mitigating her self-defense claim.

Goley also had testified before a grand jury that Mr. Rolland had accidentally stabbed himself, although the appellate court determined she never told police that in a lengthy statement given shortly after the incident, and two witnesses at trial refuted that claim. The appellate court also rejected Goley’s claim that prosecutors should not have been allowed to use the term “murder” at her trial, noting that that was a charge included in the indictment against her and it was prosecutors’ theory of the case that she intentionally killed Mr. Rolland.

The court also determined that Goley had been provided effective counsel, noting that, among other things, her attorney obtained an acquittal on the top count of the indictment, second-degree murder.

The appellate court also upheld the predatory sexual assault of a child conviction of Joseph M. Bowman, who is at Attica Correctional Facility serving a 17-year-to-life sentence imposed in County Court in March 2012. He was found guilty at trial of repeatedly sexually abusing a girl from October 2009 to June 2010, starting when she was 7.

The appellate court rejected several of Bowman’s claims, including that the weight of the evidence against him was insufficient to support his conviction and that he had been denied a fair trial. Even had the appeal succeeded, Bowman still faces a minimum term of incarceration of 23 years after pleading guilty in June 2012 in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to a charge that he possessed child pornography on his computer.

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