Couple claims self defense at murder arraignment

Couple claims self defense at murder arraignment

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QUEENSBURY — The Glens Falls couple arrested in connection with Friday’s fatal stabbing of a Queensbury man said Saturday that their actions were in self defense.

Both Jesse J. Breault, 25, and Ashley N. Bell, 29, replied “self defense” when asked by a reporter if they had anything to say as they were brought into court for arraignment for the confrontation that led to the death of Christopher J. Goss.

They did not elaborate, but Breault’s father spoke before the arraignment and said that Goss had repeatedly made threatening comments to Breault and his loved ones. At the root of the drama was the fact that Goss’ girlfriend, whose name was not released, and Bell had been involved in a dispute.

“He made a comment to Ashley that he was going to come shoot the place up, and he was worried about his baby,” the father, Duane Breault, said.

Duane Breault said his son was attacked by Goss and defended himself Friday night.

“He got scared when he was jumped,” Duane Breault said “This was a bad decision and my prayers are for both families. Nobody wins in this.”

Breault and Bell are boyfriend and girlfriend, and share an apartment on Morgan Street in Glens Falls.

Breault was charged with second-degree murder and Bell felony counts of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence for her alleged efforts to help Breault after the stabbing. Police said Bell was present for the fight early Friday.

Goss died from a knife wound or wounds from a stabbing that happened when the two men met up in the parking lot of Rick’s Bike Shop at the corner of Quaker and Ridge roads. He made his way to a nearby home on Meadow Lane, where he had parked his Jeep SUV before walking to the bike shop, and died on the front lawn of 72 Meadow Lane.

Warren County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said it was not clear what caused the longstanding disagreement between the women.

Breault also told police when questioned Friday that he was defending himself. But authorities said the two men mutually agreed to meet to fight because of the squabble, and Breault allegedly brought a large knife that he used to stab Goss several times in the torso, authorities said.

Stockdale said police did not receive any complaints from Breault or anyone else about purported threats by Goss.

Bell is accused of lying to police and assisting Breault in removing evidence from the stabbing scene, including driving Breault back to the parking lot to retrieve a cellphone he dropped there during the fight.

The knife that police believe was used to stab Goss was recovered by police Friday at an undisclosed location.

Both Breault and Bell were arraigned Saturday before Queensbury Town Justice Eric Schwenker, who sent both to Warren County Jail, pending further court action. No bail was set for Breault, while Bell was unable to post $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bail bond. Both were represented by Warren County Public Defender Marcy Flores.

Both defendants are on probation for prior convictions. Breault’s case was adjourned until Tuesday morning, while Bell is due back in court Wednesday.

Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone served Breault with a notice indicating a grand jury could hear the case as soon as Tuesday morning.

Breault has a lengthy criminal record that included a felony conviction for burglary in Saratoga County in 2014, for which he was sentenced to 5 years on probation. Police said he is still on probation for that conviction, and Flores said a probation violation charge had been filed before Friday’s case. He has had numerous misdemeanor arrests and convictions since being placed under supervision in that case.

His Facebook page describes him as “self-employed.” Family members said he is the father of an 8-month-old girl, though Bell is not the mother.

Flores said Bell has worked as a housekeeper and had planned to start a job at the Docksider restaurant in Queensbury in the coming days. (Docksider management disputed this claim.)

Goss, 36, was a Fort Ann native who had worked as a teacher in Waterford for a number of years, and also ran a bar called McGinny’s on Glen Street in Glens Falls in 2011-2012. He was also involved in the operation of at least one other local tavern, but it was unclear what he had been doing for work most recently.

McGinny’s closed shortly after a dispute over a fundraiser for a woman battling cancer.

Goss had been living on Sunnyside Road in Queensbury.

No friends or family members spoke on his behalf at Saturday’s arraigments.

Breault faces up to 25-years-to-life in state prison if convicted of second-degree murder, while Bell faces up to 8 years. Both also face possible consecutive sentences if found to have violated probation in their earlier convictions.


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