Staff Writer

MALONE — About 40 of Mary Allen’s relatives and friends crowded into the Franklin County Courtroom Friday, trying to find the closure they say will not come.

Jack Allen Jr., a nephew by marriage, was sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison for beating her to death with a heavy glass pitcher five months ago.

He stole her car and fled to the Utica-Rome area, where he broke into a business and took money in a strong-armed robbery and then bought drugs before he was caught.


“Our Mary would have been 46 years old Oct. 24, but 12 days before her birthday, a cruel-hearted, unforgivable monster took her life. That monster is Jack Allen Jr.,” said Diane Vonesant, one of Mrs. Allen’s six sisters.

She read a victims’ impact statement for St. Lawrence County Surrogate Court and Acting Franklin County Court Judge Kathleen Rogers to consider before sentencing.

Several members of the gallery wiped away tears and sniffled as she spoke.

“Nothing Jack Allen Jr. can say justifies what he has done. He has taken someone we love from us without any reason,” Vonesant said. “No one has the right to take a life so cruelly.

“Mary showed him nothing but kindness. Brutally beating her and taking her life was the thanks he gave her.

“Today, Mr. Allen will get 20 years to life, but on Oct. 12, 2007, he gave us a life without our Mary,” she said, straining to hold back tears. “How will we go on?”


Defense attorney William McCallig said Allen asked him to make a statement on his behalf, expressing his remorse and asking the family for forgiveness.

McCallig recounted how his client’s abuse of alcohol began when he was 13 and that he moved on to abuse drugs as well, trying cocaine at 16, crack cocaine at 18 and crystal methamphetamine at 19.

He said Allen married in 1987 and had three children, but his criminal record began about the same time, starting with disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

He couldn’t keep a job, his marriage fell apart, and his life spun out of control until he ending up living at Mrs. Allen’s home last fall.

After quoting ancient philosophers, Billy Graham, the Bible and Jesus Christ about forgiveness, McCallig said his client regrets the pain he caused and hoped the families he hurt could forgive him.


Judge Rogers said that in her many years on the bench, she had never received as many letters about a victim as she had in this case.

She said she felt as if she got to know how fun-loving, funny and kind Mrs. Allen was to all who knew her.

The judge said the loss to Mrs. Allen’s family caused them to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the anxiety and stress her murder created.

“When one of us dies, it causes a ripple effect in a family. But this was more like a tsunami,” Rogers said.

She ordered Allen to serve 20 years to life and to pay $6,902 in restitution and $320 in court surcharges and fees.


Outside the courtroom, the relatives milled about, wiping away tears, hugging and talking about Mrs. Allen.

Her oldest sister, Peggy Cameron, called Jack Allen Jr. “cowardly” and said the only good thing — if there could be anything — about her death is that “she didn’t see it coming” when he repeatedly hit her with the pitcher as she lay on her couch watching television.

While she spoke with a reporter, two armed sheriff’s deputies escorted Allen past the family to a waiting cruiser.

As he shouted, “See ya later, Dad” to his father in a quivering voice, Allen tripped over the chains binding his ankles together and tangled his feet for a moment before catching himself.

Cameron stared at him, then continued to speak of her sister, whom she called “a very kind, fun-loving gal who loved her granddaughter very much.”

“Oh, the two of them were inseparable,” she said, referring to Mrs. Allen and 3-year-old Destiny. “She’s suffered, too. She doesn’t understand why she can go to MaeMae’s house anymore and why she doesn’t see her.”

Cameron said Mrs. Allen’s son, Todd, had just given her a grandson, Cayden, but that she was murdered the weekend she was to go see the little boy for the first time.

Vonesant said Mary’s daughter, Melissa, was not in court Friday because she has just given birth to another grandchild that Mary will never see.

The baby girl was named “Serenity Marie because she (Melissa) wanted to have a name close to her mom’s.”

E-mail Denise A. Raymo at:


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