A Schoharie County jury Wednesday found 31-year-old Kevin Hodgins of Central Bridge guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the April stabbing death of Zachary George at a Church Street apartment building well-known to police and neighbors.
Mr. George died at the scene from a stab wound to his neck following an April 6 argument with Mr. Hodgins that police at the time called “a violent altercation that grew out of [the] previous disputes.”
Mr. Hodgins faces up to 5 to 15 years in state prison; he will be sentenced in February.
The jury acquitted Mr. Hodgins of the more serious charge of second-degree murder, which would have carried up to 25 years to life in prison.
Mr. Hodgins’ attorney Mark Gaylord argued self-defense in the case, which police in April said followed an argument between Mr. Hodgins, Mr. George and others over noise and other issues that escalated into the knifing.
Police are often called to the Church Street apartment building; when they responded to the second 911 call there on April 6, they found Mr. George dead in the hallway outside one of the upstairs apartments.
Mr. Hodgins was arrested without incident at the scene, appearing soft-spoken at his arraignment the next day in Schoharie Town Court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree felony manslaughter.
Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery praised the jury for sorting through the complicated statutes dealing with self-defense, which doesn’t generally allow for deadly force to be used in response to a non-deadly attack.
“They did a fantastic job,” she said afterwards.