QUEENSBURY — The Glens Falls man who stabbed a former friend to death last spring heard an emotional statement from his victim’s sister Thursday before he apologized and told a judge, “I wish I could go back and take all this back.”
Jesse J. Breault seemed near tears as he apologized, moments after he heard from the older sister of Christopher Goss, the man he stabbed to death during a fight in a parking lot on May 24. Their comments came as Breault was sentenced to 18 years in state prison.
Rachel Clothier told Warren County Judge John Hall that the loss of her brother has devastated her and her family. She said her brother, a former school teacher, was a skilled craftsman who had an “amazing heart” and was beloved by many.
“He had a nice house on Lake Sunnyside, a boat, nice vehicles, a pretty girlfriend,” Clothier told Hall. “This should not have happened. It has taken a toll on us.”
She said she knows she will never be the same.
“The Breaults will get Jesse back after a while. We won’t get to see Chris again,” she added.
Breault said he was sorry, and that he hoped he could be forgiven some day.
“This was not my intention,” he said.
Breault, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter last month, agreeing to a plea deal that resulted in a second-degree murder count being dropped in exchange for his guilty plea to the lesser count.
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He admitted to stabbing the Queensbury resident Goss in the upper back with a 9-inch hunting knife as the two men fought in a parking lot on Quaker Road.
The two men had been friends and their girlfriends had been friends. They met up to fight about 1 a.m. that day over some sort of problem between the girlfriends, though neither the prosecution nor defense would say what led up to the fatal confrontation.
A badly injured Goss staggered to a nearby home, near where his vehicle was parked, and died on the front yard of a home on Meadow Lane.
Breault’s girlfriend, Ashley N. Bell, 29, has been accused of lying to police and assisting Breault in removing evidence from the crime scene, as police said he dropped his cellphone there and they returned to get it a short time later, before Goss’ body had been discovered.
Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said charges are still pending against Bell in Queensbury Town Court.
Clothier told Hall that Bell sent Goss’ girlfriend, Ali Barton, a message laughing after the stabbing.
Breault also pleaded guilty last month to a probation violation in Saratoga County Court, as he was on probation at the time of the stabbing for a 2014 felony burglary conviction in Moreau. Hogan said he faces a 2- to 6-year prison sentence for that case, which will be served concurrently to the stabbing case.
He will have to serve at least 15-3/4 years before becoming eligible for parole, and will be on parole for 5 years after his release.
Carusone and Derrick Hogan, Breault’s lawyer, said it was not clear what led to the two meeting up to fight the night Goss was killed. Goss’ family distributed in court on Thursday a picture of Goss holding Breault’s young daughter weeks before the homicide.
Carusone said Breault gave police several “versions” of events that night.
“It certainly was a senseless killing,” Carusone said. “There is no good explanation for the result that occurred here.”
Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or email@example.com