QUEENSBURY — A Glens Falls man charged in connection with a drug-related stabbing death last summer is scheduled to appear in court next week for a “possible plea” to resolve the case against him, court records show.
Nicholas D. Hamel, 19, is scheduled to go before Warren County Judge John Hall on Nov. 15 to potentially resolve the indictment against him, which includes counts of first-degree manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance for his alleged role in the homicide.
Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone acknowledged that a court appearance had been scheduled but said it was unclear whether a guilty plea would be entered. He said he could not discuss the case further as of this week.
Hamel’s lawyer, William Montgomery, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Hamel is accused of being involved in the June 8 killing of 31-year-old Charles Werner on Union Street in Glens Falls. Police believe Werner tried to steal prescription drugs from Hamel and another man, and the two chased him and caught him, leading to a fight in which Werner was stabbed multiple times and Hamel cut as well.
It was unclear whether the plea deal offered to Hamel would require his cooperation against the man accused of stabbing Werner, Skylar C. Phillips, 19. Phillips and Hamel were roommates who allegedly conspired to sell the prescription drug Xanax to Werner, only to have Werner grab the drugs and flee.
Phillips has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and lesser counts for allegedly stabbing Werner in the chest with a hunting knife. Court records show he has claimed he acted in self-defense, a claim he made to police after he blamed a “black” man whom he did not know.
Phillips’ lawyer, Greg Teresi, said there had been “limited” plea discussions in his client’s case, but he was awaiting the results of DNA tests that should clarify where the case is headed. Clothing, at least one knife, a bag of pills and other items seized by police are among those being tested for DNA from the people allegedly involved in Werner’s death.
“We’re hopeful we can get it resolved, but if we can’t, we’re heading to trial,” Teresi said. “I would think over the next couple of weeks we will have an idea where this case is going.”
No court date has been set in Phillips’ case.
Two other people who were alleged to have been involved in the drug activity that surrounded the case — Richard L. Rothaupt, 24, of Glens Falls and Erica L. Cooper, 34, of Queensbury — face felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. They have pleaded not guilty as well.
Second-degree murder is punishable by up to 25 years to life in prison, while first-degree manslaughter can bring a sentence of up to 25 years.