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Northern NY

Michael Leach charged in son's death

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Michael Leach arraigned in son's death
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A father is awaiting trial in Herkimer County for allegedly shooting and killing his adult son last July. Michael Leach's lawyer says he definitely did it. But as YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us, the argument is over whether or not he meant to.

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. -- When asked during Wednesday's press conference how many times the victim was shot, Herkimer County District Attorney Jeff Carpenter said, "The indications are one shot."

Only one shot. And only one person knows what actually happened in room six of Clark's Beach Motel in Old Forge on July 21.

"The investigation has been ongoing for the last five or six months until we came to this conclusion," New York State Police Major Rodney Campbell said.

Matthew's father, Michael Leach, has now been charged with second degree murder and weapons charges.

His attorney, Joe Damelio, said, "I truly believe he killed his son. There's no question about that. Did he intend to kill his son? Absolutely not."

Leach's defense is calling it a tragic accident.

"He thought there was an intruder in his room and he thought he was defending himself," Damelio said.

Carpenter won't say what he thinks happened when the former Rochester police captain and current Perry police officer shot his son.

At Wednesday's press conference, he gave some details of the weapon.

"Yes, it was an issued handgun by the Village of Perry Police Department," Carpenter said.

But the rest of the story is largely unclear.

Carpenter refused to comment on several questions about the fact and circumstances of the shooting. What is clear is a father went on a motorcycle trip with his son.

"His relationship with his son was excellent," Damelio said, noting their frequent motorcycle trips together.

The other known fact is that something went wrong in that room.

"I think he's more concerned about the loss of his son than about the criminal charge now pending in court," Damelio said.

The rest of the story may come out if Leach's case makes it to trial. He's expected back in court April 5th.

Leach is expected to be released on $200,000 bail. He will also have to surrender several guns he owns while he's waiting for trial.

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