Charges announced against four defendants in homicide/kidnapping case

Goshen. Prosecutors said the victim went to the Goshen residence where three of the defendants lived armed with a shotgun. After the victim was disarmed, he was beaten with a baseball bat, tied up, then driven to the Village of Chester, where he was dumped on the side of the road.

19 Feb 2020 | 03:43

The Orange County District Attorney has announced the charges against four residents of Goshen and Chester arrested in December for kidnapping and homicide.

David Hoovler announced Feb. 13 that Robert Haskell, 55, Timothy Smith, 37, Seth Pelsang, 30, all of Goshen, and Courtney Clemenza, 32, of Chester, were arraigned before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown in connection with the Dec. 18, 2019, slaying of a man on Kipp Road in the Town of Goshen.

Haskell, Smith, and Pelsang were charged with crimes including murder in the second degree and kidnapping in the second degree. Haskell was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. Clemenza was charged with crimes including manslaughter in the second degree, kidnapping in the second degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.

During the bail application, prosecutors argued that on Dec. 18, the victim, Michael Partridge of Chester, went to the house where Haskell, Pelsang, and Smith lived armed with a shotgun. After Partridge was disarmed by the residents and restrained, Haskell then beat him with a baseball bat.

Prosecutors argued that all the defendants helped tie up the injured man. Partridge was placed inside Clemenza’s car and driven to another area in the Village of Chester, where he was left on the side of the road, bound and wounded. After about 20 minutes a motorist noticed the motionless, bound man. He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Clemenza, Pelsang, and Haskell were remanded to the Orange County Jail with no bail. Smith was remanded to jail in lieu of bail in the amount of $750,000 cash, $5,000,000 secured bond, or $6,000,000 partially secured bond. Haskell is next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 27, Smith on Feb. 24, Pelsang on Feb. 20, and Clemenza on Feb. 25.

Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their investigation and the arrest of the defendants, as well as the Village of Chester Police who aided in the investigation.

“This man suffered a violent death that was as foreseeable as it was preventable,” said Hoovler. “Individuals cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands or settle disputes with violence. My deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased victim.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl.