Murder suspect was free despite multiple probation violations

Murder suspect was free despite multiple probation violations

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QUEENSBURY — The Glens Falls man who was charged with murder for the stabbing death of an acquaintance last week remained a free man in recent years despite repeatedly violating probation in a 2014 felony case.

Those violations could have resulted in a state prison sentence.

Jesse J. Breault, who was charged with second-degree murder in Queensbury on Friday, was arrested at least three times in Warren and Saratoga counties since October 2014, when he was sentenced to 5 years on probation in Saratoga County Court.

He was put on probation after a guilty plea to third-degree burglary for a break-in at a mobile home in Moreau that was interrupted by an observant neighbor.

Since then, Breault has been charged with misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and driving while ability impaired by drugs in Saratoga County in 2017 that could have resulted in a state prison term for violating probation for the burglary count.

The Saratoga County Probation Department filed a probation violation charge in 2018 that could have resulted in a jail or prison sentence and a termination of probation. But Saratoga County Judge Ann Crowell directed that Breault be allowed to remain on probation and participate in the county’s drug treatment court program.

Saratoga County Probation Director Steve Bayle said his office planned to file a new violation charge against Breault in light of his homicide arrest.

A state prison sentence of up to 4 years could have been imposed for the probation violation. Bayle said what happens when a defendant violates probation “is left up to the DA and the court” after a probation violation charge is adjudicated.

Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said Breault had a “series of arrests for lower-level offenses” while on probation, and when charged with violating probation, admitted he did so. She would not say what sentence her office was seeking for that violation, but said it was not a continuation of probation as imposed.

“We advocated for something different, but ultimately it was up to the judge,” she said.

A man who answered the phone at Crowell’s office on Tuesday said she could not comment on the case.

Breault, 25, was then arrested in Glens Falls in 2018 for misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child after an argument with a relative in front of a child, and he was sentenced to a new term of probation in Warren County after pleading guilty in that case, court records show.

He was accused earlier this year in Glens Falls City Court of violating that probation. He admitted he had violated probation and was awaiting re-sentencing on the misdemeanor when Friday’s stabbing occurred. The endangering charge is punishable by up to a year in Warren County Jail.

Warren County Probation Director Robert Iusi said Breault had been participating in Glens Falls City Court’s Domestic Violence Court as part of the disposition of his case.

Breault was arrested Friday, hours after 36-year-old Queensbury resident Christopher J. Goss was stabbed to death during a fight in the parking lot of Rick’s Bike Shop in Queensbury. Breault and Goss had arranged to fight early that morning because of a dispute their girlfriends had been having, which Breault’s family said included threats by Goss toward Breault’s girlfriend and child.

Breault’s girlfriend, Ashley N. Bell, 29, went to the fight with him and was charged with felony counts of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence for her alleged actions afterward.

Both told a reporter that Goss’ injuries occurred after an act of “self defense,” but they did not elaborate.

Both Breault and Bell had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf during arraignments Saturday, and made brief court appearances in Queensbury Town Court on Tuesday. Bell, who is free on bail, had her case adjourned until June 24, while Breault is due back on June 3.

Bell was also on probation for a prior conviction, hers for misdemeanor petit larceny in Queensbury. She has been charged with violating probation in that case.

Bell is free in bail, while Breault is being held in Warren County Jail without bail.

A Warren County grand jury is expected to review the case later this week, which would make the Town Court hearings moot if an indictment is handed up.


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