Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III kept his commitment.
But only by a little.
Murphy had promised convicted killer Nathian Gleen that, as part of a plea deal, he would sentence him to “something less than the maximum sentence” for a single count of first-degree manslaughter. A conviction for first-degree manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years.
On Monday, Murphy handed down a sentence of 20 years behind bars and five years of post release supervision for Gleen, 26, in connection with the July 5 stabbing death of Kenneth “Kenny” Mitchell.
Gleen took the plea at his final court appearance before the start of jury selection for a trial that would have seen him face charges of second-degree murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the slaying of Mitchell. Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman noted, at teh time, that the plea offer had “been on the table” for awhile and that Gleen had been “expected to plea at some point.”
Prosecutors did ask Murphy to impose a sentence “approaching the maximum.”
Falls police patrol officers said they were called to a parking lot at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Fifth Street at about 8:50 p.m. July 5, to “check the welfare” of a man who was lying on the ground there. When they arrived, they found Mitchell, with two stab wounds to the chest.
He was declared dead at the scene by responding firefighters and EMTs.
Detectives said they were initially hampered in their attempt to identify Mitchell because he did not have any ID with him at the time of his death. Investigators said they were trying to determine what led to the slaying and why Mitchell, a Rochester resident, was in the Falls.
“He was visiting some people here,” Criminal Investigation Division Capt. John Conti said of Mitchell at the time.
Other sources said Mitchell was known to regularly frequent the Falls.
Investigators said Gleen fled from the murder scene before police arrived. He was taken into custody two days later by members of the U.S. Marshals Felony Fugitive Task Force.
Gleen reportedly spoke with detectives prior to his arrest, but declined to offer up a motive for the slaying other than saying he and Mitchell had a “confrontation.” While not commenting specifically on a motive for the murder, detectives said the murder “was not a random act.”