Plea Deal Reached In 2001 Gerry Murders
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — The Chautauqua County District Attorney's office announced this week that 41-year-old Gregory Pattison struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree manslaughter for the shooting deaths of Richard Alicea Junior and Johnny Houston in the town of Gerry back in May 2001.
"We've worked very hard over a number of months to try and get it. We worked with the victim's mother and with, of course, the defense team," said David Foley, (R) Chautauqua County District Attorney.
In 2001, police found Houston and Alicea shot to death in a car on the side of Harris Hill Road.
During the original trial, prosecutors said Pattison was paid by two drug lords to carry out the killings over alleged unpaid drug debts.
A jury found Pattison guilty as charged.
Pattison was originally convicted in 2005 on first and second degree murder charges, but they were overturned on a technicality. He remains in a California jail on a related federal drug charge. His new trial date for the killings was scheduled for next month.
"I guess its one of those bittersweet things, knowing what I know about the case, and the trouble that we had locating witnesses in the original trial, this retrial would have been very very difficult to put the same case forward to the jury," said Joe Gerace, (D) Chautauqua County Sheriff.
"I would describe it as being frustrating as a prosecutor because its very, very difficult to reconstruct a case when its 11-years old. Witnesses are gone, their incentive to continue to cooperate has evaporated and it can just be very frustrating," said Foley.
So instead of retrying the case and risking an acquittal, Foley contacted Alicea's mother.
"We explained the issues we faced and she understood those, she was very very cooperative and we also talked about closure, bringing it to an end, so there is I believe a sense of relief in knowing it was over," said Foley.
Two co-defendants in the case were previously convicted and remain behind bars. Pattison's sentencing is set for August 28th. He faces more than thirty years in prison.