The two brothers accused in the Memorial Day stabbing death of an Oneonta man entered pleas of “not guilty” on Monday in Cooperstown.
Nicholas DeCutler, 35, and Terry DeCutler, 31, were indicted on charges of second-degree murder by the grand jury on July 29. They are accused in the stabbing death of Kaleb O’Neill, 24. They were arraigned in front of Judge John Lambert in Otsego County Court on Monday, Aug. 15.
Nicholas, of Unadilla, was represented by public defender Aaron Dean, and Terry, of Sidney, was represented by public defender Dennis Laughlin. Both Dean and Laughlin entered “not guilty” pleas on behalf of their clients.
The charge of second-degree murder is a class A-I violent felony and is punishable by a maximum sentence of life without parole.
According to Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, both Nicholas and Terry confessed to police they killed O’Neill. Muehl requested bail be set at $250,000 cash or $2.5 million bond for both brothers.
Muehl said both defendants were flight risks and both had outstanding warrants from the state of Arkansas. After the arraignment, Muehl said the warrants were possibly for narcotics charges.
Lambert asked each brother at his arraignment where he would be living if he was able to post bail. Nicholas said he would be living with his wife and child in their Unadilla home. Terry said he would live in an apartment in Sidney with his girl’s mother.
Lambert agreed both would be flight risks and imposed the $250,000 cash or credit card bail or $2.5 million bond amount.
After the arraignment, Muehl said he asked for the large amount for bail because, “I didn’t want them to get out. I was afraid they’d take off on me.”
Police and EMS providers were called on Memorial Day, May 30, to a report of a stabbing in an alleyway behind 189 Main Street in the city of Oneonta. They found O’Neill, suffering from stab wounds. Despite attempted lifesaving measures by first responders and emergency medical personnel at A.O. Fox Hospital, O’Neill died from his injuries, a media release said at the time.
Oneonta Police Chief Christopher Witzenburg said in June, the department became aware of the brothers through “leads developed through our investigation.”
He said the department pursued more than 160 leads in the case that led to the arrest.
“As with any investigation, we will exploit any lead we receive, whether its cellular data or social media posts,” he said.
Witzenburg said the department was “able to get several images from the area” where the stabbing occurred, including “some images that are important to the investigation.”
The DeCutlers will return to court on Sept. 19 for a conference. Muehl said he would like to try the bothers jointly, but the attorneys for the brothers can request separate trials.