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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Utica man, 66, shot dead after answering door

11-27-2009 New York:

State: Garrow also convicted sex offender

UTICA — .George Garrow and his roommate had just spent Wednesday evening baking pies and sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner when they heard a knock at the door of their Dudley Avenue apartment shortly before midnight.

Having only one leg, Garrow, 66, grabbed his crutch and made his way to the door. The roommate said he next overheard Garrow talking with what sounded like a man and a woman.

The unknown visitors then demanded money from Garrow, the roommate recalled, but Garrow refused.

Suddenly, shots rang out.

Moments later at 11:53 p.m., Garrow, a previously convicted sex offender, would be found dead in his first-floor doorway, said his roommate, who asked not to be named. By Friday morning, his killer or killers remained at large, Utica police said.

When officers arrived, they said the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon still wafted through the air inside 1139 Dudley Ave.

While police officials did not dispute the roommate’s account of what happened, investigators spent the Thanksgiving holiday trying to piece together who might have killed Garrow, and for what reason.

“I do know that there was a conversation at the door, and I do know that there were gunshots,” Utica police Capt. James Watson said. “That lends itself for us to believe that the victim may know the offender.”

Garrow appeared to be shot in the head, according to the roommate, but police would not confirm where Garrow was shot on his body or how many times. Officials said an autopsy most likely will take place early next week.

Interviews conducted at the scene of the homicide earlier that morning offered few clues about the culprits, Watson said.

“Based on the people we’ve spoken to, we need to do some follow-up interviews with people before we can even come remotely close to developing suspect information,” Watson said.

Shortly after the shooting, area police agencies were put on alert for an older white jeep occupied by two men and two women that reportedly drove away from the scene north on Dudley Avenue toward Eagle Street.

‘He didn't deserve to die this way'

Several hours after Garrow was killed, his crutch remained propped up against the porch near the front door, which still was stained with blood.

For those who knew Garrow, it was those crutches and a mobilized wheelchair that they most often saw him use to move throughout the Cornhill neighborhood.

And although Garrow spent more than 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in the late 1980s in Otsego County, his status as a registered Level 3 sex offender wasn’t mentioned as they recalled their neighbor.

“I was a good friend of his,” neighbor Judith Torres said Thanksgiving Day afternoon in front of the first-floor apartment where Garrow was killed. “He didn’t deserve to die this way. God took a good man.”

Despite having only one leg, Garrow still offered to cut lawns for his neighbors, while using one hand to push the mower and the other hand to balance himself on a crutch.

He also drove a tractor that towed a small trailer throughout the neighborhood to collect scrap metal that he would sell for cash, friends said.

Garrow, they said, enjoyed bird-watching in his backyard, where a row of leafy collard greens still grew in the ground Thursday as a reminder of Garrow’s love of gardening.

“On his birthday, he would say God gave him another chance," Torres said.

Garrow did have a number of children that he hasn’t talked to for years, according to the roommate, who has lived with Garrow since July.

But shortly before Garrow was killed, he had just spoken on the phone with a son he hadn’t seen in about 14 years, the roommate said. Garrow also recently had made contact with another son living in Texas that he hasn’t seen for nearly 30 years.

After the roommate was questioned by police until about 6 a.m. Thursday, he was not immediately allowed to go back inside his apartment because it was a crime scene.

‘Like light bulbs dropping’

When police officers responded to the call, they already had been notified that multiple shots had been fired. The sound of gunfire had clearly been heard by nearby residents.

“It sounded like light bulbs dropping to the floor,” Torres said from her nearby home.

In the early morning hours after the shooting, area police agencies were put on alert for an older white jeep occupied by two men and two women that reportedly drove away from the scene south on Dudley Avenue toward Eagle Street

The city police forensic truck spent hours parked in the middle of the block with its spotlights shining on the 2-1/2 story house as evidence was collected.

As word of Garrow’s death spread, the Thanksgiving eve killing brought shock and fear to neighbors such as Jessenia Lopez, 19, who moved to the block with her three children about eight months ago.

Lopez was decorating a Christmas tree when she noticed the police activity on the street, she said.

“This is not what I want for my kids. ... Now I'm scared to even close my eyes,” Lopez said about an hour after the homicide.

This is Utica’s fourth homicide of the year.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 223-3510.

All calls will be kept confidential. ..Source.. ROCCO LaDUCA, JENNIFER BOGDAN and EMERSON CLARRIDGE, Observer-Dispatch


Teen shows no remorse over shooting death of 66 year old

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Monday morning during his sentencing, 19 year old Robert Thompson told Oneida County Court Judge Michael Dwyer that he had no remorse at all for shooting and killing 66 year old George Garrow.

Prosecutors say Thompson and his half-brother, 19 year old Trevon Patterson went up the steps of Garrow's Dudley Avenue home to rob him of drugs and cash on Thanksgiving Eve 2009.

Prosecutors say Garrow was a known drug dealer, and the two teens intended to just rob him, but Garrow fought back and Thompson shot Garrow twice and killed him.

Dwyer was appalled at Thompson's lack of remorse and told him he would recommend to the parole board they never release Thompson early, that he serve every day of his 25 year sentence for 1st degree manslaughter.

"It's not new. It's rare. I've seen it before," said Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Kurt Hameline of Thompson's lack of remorse and statements to the judge. "He has no feeling whatsoever for what he did, no remorse, just cold blooded, he's basically evil, his streetname is 'Homicide', so I mean, that kind of fits him."

Trevon Patterson is due in court on Thursday to be sentenced on robbery charges.

Hameline says a third defendant, 28 year old Shantai Rogers also played a role in the robbery, getting Garrow to open the door in the first place. Shantai Rogers will be sentenced in January on robbery charges as well. ..Source.. by

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