HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) "" In a case linked to drug smuggling through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, a man who shot his friend to death and dumped his body in western New York will not face the death penalty.

In a filing in federal court in New York last week, prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty against Noah Gladding, 27, of Chester, Conn.

Last August, a state jury in Batavia convicted him of kidnapping fellow drug dealer Jason Argersinger in 2005 in an attempt to settle a $400,000 debt that had endangered both of them, then killing him when he tried to escape.

He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole after that conviction.

But he also faces federal charges, and federal prosecutors had filed papers in Rochester last year indicating that they would seek Gladding's execution if he were convicted of capital murder.

Officials in the U.S. Attorney's western New York office said the decision not to seek the death penalty was made by officials in Washington, D.C.

A trial date for the federal charges has not yet been set.

Gladding also faces kidnapping charges in Connecticut.

His attorney, William Easton, said this week that prosecutors' decision not to seek the death penalty was "factually, legally and ethically the right thing to do." He said Gladding's family is "greatly relieved."

Also facing federal and Connecticut charges in the case is Gladding's alleged accomplice, Eric J. Connolly, 24, of Chester. The two attended high school with Argersinger, a star soccer player.

Connolly is accused of helping Gladding attack Argersinger and stuff him into the trunk of his own car. But police said Connolly did not go to New York with Gladding.

Police said Gladding told them he bashed Argersinger in the head with a rock, tied him up in his car trunk and drove to Syracuse. A meeting he'd arranged there with the victim's drug supplier fizzled, he said, so he drove around western New York in a panic before heeding Argersinger's pleas that they "talk it out."

But after letting him out of the trunk, he said, Argersinger jumped into the driver's seat to try to flee and Gladding shot him in the back, killing him. He said he dragged the body down a snow bank, placed him face up in Black Creek and shot him seven more times.

On his journey home, Gladding told police, he threw the victim's clothes in a rest-stop trash bin, flung the 9mm handgun into the Mohawk River and set the car on fire. The bloodied clothing, the gun and the body were all found within weeks.

Also charged in the case was Josiah Howenstine, who was accused of supplying the gun. Two other men, Mitchell LaFrance and Anthony Marinaccio, were indicted as part of a marijuana conspiracy involving Argersinger that brought drugs from Canada into New York state through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.

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