GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls men accused of stabbing a man to death over an attempted drug theft were indicted Tuesday by a Warren County grand jury as one made his first court appearance in Glens Falls City Court.
As his mother wept in the courtroom, defendant Skylar C. Phillips, 19, appeared Tuesday in City Court to face two felony charges. Police say he confessed to the stabbing.
“I only meant to stab him twice,” Phillips allegedly told police, Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said Saturday.
Phillips and two co-defendants were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday morning, but the indictments had not been handed up as of late Tuesday afternoon.
Glens Falls City Court staff confirmed that a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Wednesday had been canceled after a notice of grand jury action was sent to the court.
It was unclear what charges were contained in the indictment, as it will not become a public document until it is filed in County Court. Carusone said he could not discuss the grand jury aspect of the case Tuesday.
In City Court on Tuesday, Phillips’ attorney, court-assigned counsel W. Bradley Krause, did not contest the $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bail bond that had been set during Phillips’ initial arraignment on Saturday.
Glens Falls Judge Gary Hobbs asked Krause if he wanted to discuss the bail.
“Not at this time,” Krause answered.
Phillips’ co-defendents, Nicholas Hamel, 19, and Richard L. Rothaupt, 24, both of Glens Falls, were rescheduled to be arraigned Wednesday because their attorneys could not be present Tuesday. That proceeding will be rendered moot by the indictment, however.
Phillips was brought from the Warren County Jail for the arraignment and ended up having to walk up three flights of stairs to the courtroom because the elevator was broken. It was a slow climb with both hands cuffed in front of him, but he did not have to wear ankle cuffs.
Rothaupt and Hamel remained at the jail.
Phillips and Hamel were arrested Saturday on felony charges of first-degree felony manslaughter and first-degree felony assault.
Rothaupt was arrested Saturday on a charge of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police allege he had a large quantity of Xanax on him when he was arrested.
The men face charges for what police said was a drug-related brawl that led to Charles R. Werner, 31, of Glens Falls, being stabbed to death. They said the three defendants met with Werner to sell him drugs, but Werner instead tried to steal from them and ran off. The brawl occurred on Union Street around 6 p.m. after a brief foot chase.
Police said Phillips had the knife, and Hamel was charged because he took part in the fight as well.
Rothaupt’s attorney, Tucker Stanclift, said later that he is also representing Rothaupt in a drug-related robbery case and just got Rothaupt onto probation.
“So this is problematic,” Stanclift said.
Hamel’s attorney, Marc Zuckerman, came to court to meet with Hamel, but Hamel wasn’t transported from the jail. Zuckerman said he was told the transport was too crowded to add Hamel, particularly since Zuckerman had been handling a federal court case and wasn’t sure he’d make it to the arraignment in time.
He hasn’t met with Hamel yet and could not describe the extent of his injuries.
“I didn’t even know he was hospitalized,” Zuckerman said.
Hamel was hospitalized after Friday’s fatal brawl, but was released to the jail by Sunday afternoon. He was treated for knife wounds to his arms and other injuries.
Krause discussed the case afterward with Phillips’ mother, father and brother. They declined to discuss the case with The Post-Star on Tuesday.