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Police: Motive for Ticonderoga murder unknown

Police: Motive for Ticonderoga murder unknown

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TICONDEROGA — Police said Tuesday they don’t know what led up to the fatal shooting of a Ticonderoga man late last week, with a motive for the killing still being investigated as the man deemed responsible was jailed late Monday.

Murder suspect Michael E. LaRock was found in a home in Norfolk, St. Lawrence County, around 3:15 p.m. Monday after police in nearby Massena received a tip that he was there, police said.

Ticonderoga Police and State Police traveled to the area and located him in a mobile home, arresting him without incident.

He was charged with felony counts of second-degree murder, aggravated criminal possession of a weapon, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse, according to Ticonderoga Police Sgt. Adam Hurlburt.

LaRock is accused of killing William T. “Liam” Brown, a 37-year-old Ticonderoga man who was found dead in the LaChute River on Friday morning, having been shot in the head.

Hurlburt, the Police Department’s officer in charge, said police believe LaRock and Brown knew each other, but what prompted LaRock to shoot the victim in the head with a handgun was unknown as of Tuesday.

“We don’t have any definite answers as far as a motive,” he said.

Hurlburt said LaRock was not cooperative with police in terms of explaining what happened when police located him Monday.

“He said he would talk with us after he got a lawyer, but we don’t expect that to happen,” Hurlburt said.

Police believe the shooting happened on Lonergan Lane in Ticonderoga late Thursday or early Friday, but Hurlburt would not say if it was in a home. The gun has not been recovered.

Brown’s body was found early Friday when police investigated a suspicious vehicle complaint near Bicentennial Park, but how and why it was taken there remained undetermined. The men apparently believed the river would carry the body into Lake Champlain, but the river level is low so it remained in a stretch of river in the park.

Two accomplices, including LaRock’s father, were arrested Saturday, but LaRock fled the region.

LaRock was last seen Friday afternoon at the Speedway gas station on Route 37 in Hogansburg, near the Canadian border. Hurlburt said LaRock was found Monday holed up with a friend in Norfolk, and State Police are looking into whether that person should face charges for allowing him to hide.

“The person who provided us the information gave us an area, but we weren’t sure he was there,” Hurlburt said. “We pursued some leads and were able to locate him.”

State Police said LaRock is a convicted felon, and prior media reports show he has previous arrests for possession of weapons, narcotics, stolen property, burglary, assault and driving while intoxicated.

LaRock, 38, was arraigned late Monday before Ticonderoga Town Justice Keith Dolbeck, and sent to Essex County Jail without bail.

The two other men were arrested Saturday are Joshua W. Smith, 35, and 63-year-old Donald C. LaRock, both of Ticonderoga, who have been charged with one count each of first-degree hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse. They were sent to Essex County Jail as well.

Police believe Smith was present when the shooting occurred.

Brown was a retired U.S. Army veteran who served combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hurlburt said the investigation was ongoing, and he thanked the State Police for the agency’s assistance.

Anyone with information in the case was asked to call Ticonderoga Police at 518-585-3204.

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Related to this story

Pretrial hearings are scheduled to begin Thursday in the case of a Ticonderoga man, Michael E. LaRock, who is accused of murder in the killing of a friend, William T. "Liam" Brown, in December.

Michael E. LaRock, 39, of Ticonderoga, who shot and killed a friend, William T. "Liam" Brown, 37, in December, pleaded guilty to a murder charge late Thursday, and the two men who assisted him in getting rid of the victim's body pleaded guilty to felonies. He agreed to serve 25 years to life in state prison, which is the maximum for second-degree murder, but will avoid possible consecutive prison sentences for weapons possession and other lesser charges.

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