BALLSTON SPA -- Tears were shed on both sides of the Saratoga County courtroom Friday morning.
Travis Carroll, 23, cried as he stood before Judge Jerry Scarano and pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the March 18 hit-and-run that left Saratoga Springs resident Ryan Rossley dead.
Rossley's family -- mother, Maureen, father, Stephen, brothers Jason and Sean and sister Kelly -- wept as the plea was entered and Carroll was ushered out of the courtroom, hands cuffed and now facing 5 to 15 years in prison.
The scene marked an abrupt end, at least for Carroll, to a case that originated during the early-morning hours of March 18 in downtown Saratoga Springs. Police said Carroll hit Rossley with his car following a fight, then drove to his home in Ballston and tried to conceal the evidence.
Carroll said little as he entered his plea, but Carroll's lawyer, Gerard Amedio, said later that his client admitted to the crime so he could "move on with his life."
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Originally charged with tampering with evidence and leaving the scene of an accident, the case had been thought to be headed to a grand jury.
The tears, Amedio added, were not being shed for his own circumstances.
"My client was more upset about the death of Mr. Rossley than his own incarceration," Amedio said.
Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Rossley's family declined to comment about Carroll's admission, or the sentence worked out between prosecutors and Amedio that will be imposed on June 25.
Maureen Rossley said the family has and will continue to "take the high road" in the case.
But Carroll, as well as an alleged conspirator arrested on Thursday for helping to conceal evidence of the hit-and-run, will "have to live with themselves," she said.
"Neither Ryan nor his family deserved this atrocity," Maureen Rossley said, standing with her husband, children and other relatives outside the courtroom. "No one should be run down in their own hometown."
A Saratoga Springs High School graduate, Rossley was described by his family as a talented carpenter who loved hunting and fishing in the Adirondacks, playing hockey and had ambitions of becoming a teacher and buying a "fixer-upper" house.
The death of the 27-year-old, they said, provoked sympathy from across the world and drew more than 1,000 people to a wake last month.
"We were looking for a photo to put on the casket, but it was so hard because he always leaned in, and we couldn't crop any of them," his brother Jason Rossley said. "That's just the type of person he was."
The case is not over, despite Carroll's admission.
On Wednesday, Saratoga Springs police arrested Jeffrey Hampshire, a neighbor of Carroll's, and charged him with tampering with evidence.
Police said he helped Carroll remove and try to hide the shattered windshield of Carroll's car in the days following the incident.
Hampshire, a twice-convicted felon, pleaded not guilty to the charge on Thursday in Saratoga Springs City Court and is scheduled to appear again next week.
Amedio, Carroll's attorney, said his client will cooperate if called to testify in that case.
Carroll's cooperation shows the level of remorse he has for what transpired that night, said Amedio.
He reiterated earlier assertions that Carroll had been beaten by a group of men, including Rossley, before getting into his car to flee the area of Henry Street where the incident occurred.
Carroll never intended to hit or kill anyone, he said, describing the sequence of events as "unfortunate" for someone who is an otherwise "good person."
"From the very beginning, he's taken responsibility," Amedio said. "Now, he's looking forward to bettering himself."