MALONE — Dale S. Jarvis Jr. hit his father in the head with a sledgehammer during a fight over a video game and hid his body in a makeshift casket under their house for a month.
Details of the Feb. 21 death of Dale S. Jarvis Sr., 48, of 14 White St. in Chateaugay emerged Tuesday as Dale Jr., 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in Franklin County Court.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder and had a criminal-contempt charge pending for allegedly ignoring an order of protection in association with a domestic-violence incident. Both were satisfied with the manslaughter plea.
The younger man, who is also known as D.J., is to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 13 and faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in state prison.
'CONCERNED FOR FAMILY'
D.J. answered questions from Judge Robert G. Main Jr. in a soft voice, his head hung low as he stared down at the table, standing with his defense attorney, Public Defender Thomas Soucia.
Five members of the Jarvis family, including his grandfather Maynard Jarvis, sat in the gallery behind him, while a few rows of benches on the opposite side of the courtroom were filled with State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigators who worked the case.
Soucia said the plea agreement was reached after he had looked at the evidence, reviewed the photographs, visited the crime scene, spoke with investigators, talked with the family and consulted with his client.
“Based on my assessment, this is what made the most sense,” he said. “And my client didn’t want the family dragged through this for months. After my review, this was the best outcome.”
DEATH LIKELY INSTANT
The police probe started when someone from an unrelated drug investigation offhandedly questioned why police were concentrating so much on a drug case when a man missing for several months may have been murdered.
Dale Sr. was last seen Feb. 21, and District Attorney Derek Champagne said D.J. told police, relatives and others as many as seven different stories as to where his father was during those five months.
Prosecutors said the statements collected and evidence uncovered revealed what likely happened.
D.J. and his father lived together off and on and “on a number of occasions, would get into a fight where Dale Sr. usually got the upper hand,” the DA said.