Son, father receive max sentences in Ti murder

Michael E. LaRock

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Ticonderoga man who shot and killed his friend last December received the maximum sentence for second-degree murder Wednesday.

Michael E. LaRock, 39, will serve 25 years to life in state prison for the murder of William "Liam" Brown, 37, of Ticonderoga.

His father, Donald C. LaRock, 64, was sentenced to two and a third to seven years in prison for first-degree hindering prosecution and an additional one and a third to four years for tampering with physical evidence, according to a press release from Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague's office.

Both had entered guilty pleas in Essex County Court Sept. 12.

They were being held at Essex County Jail Friday.

Brown was retired U.S. army veteran who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Press-Republican has reported.


Michael LaRock killed Brown in a Lonergan Lane home in Ticonderoga Dec. 14, the Glens Falls Post Star has reported.

From there, he and his father along with Joshua W. Smith, 36, of Ticonderoga drove Brown's body to the LaChute River, where they threw it in the water at Bicentennial Park.

The body was discovered later that morning.

Four days later, Michael LaRock was found in a friend's St. Lawrence County home near the Canadian border.

Smith was sentenced earlier this month to one and a third to four years in prison for tampering with physical evidence.

According to the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision inmate lookup, he is currently incarcerated at Downstate Correctional Facility in Dutchess County.

He is eligible for parole in April 2020.


Brown's family members addressed County Court Judge Richard Meyer and Michael LaRock at the sentencing.

According to the press release, Michael "engaged in a verbal confrontation with the judge and was threatened with a contempt charge."

Meyer handed down his sentence and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine, $300 surcharge, $25 crime victim's fee and $50 state DNA databank fee.

The judge also issued orders of protection to the family members who spoke at the sentencing and deemed Michael LaRock a second-felony offender, the release said.


Eric Schwenker of Glens Falls represented the defendant, while Sprague and First Assistant District Attorney Michael Langey prosecuted the case.

In a statement, Sprague said she hoped the sentencing brought closure to the Brown family and Ticonderoga community.

"The family was able to say what they wanted to say and it was very apparent that their statements impacted everyone in the courtroom," she continued.

"When something tragic happens in a small community, the impact of the loss, anger, sadness and grief is widespread.

"I hope knowing this man will serve a very long time, possibly the rest of his life in prison, will help the healing process begin."


Prior to Donald LaRock's sentencing, the defense requested an Outley hearing to determine whether he had violated the terms and conditions of his release while he awaited sentencing, the press release said. 

Both he and Probation Supervisor Tracy Turek of the Essex County Department of Probation testified, and Meyer determined that Donald had violated the terms.

Brown's family members also spoke to Donald.

"Many of the comments related to the defendant's enabling and helping his son commit or cover up past crimes," the release said.

Meyer echoed many of their sentiments and pointed to such instances, as well as Donald's violations of the conditions of his release.


The judge imposed a $5,000 fine, $300 surcharge, $25 crime victim's fee and $50 state DNA databank fee for each of Donald LaRock's charges.

Meyer also issued orders of protection against Donald for the family members who spoke at the sentencing.


William Tansey served as defense counsel.

"It is hard to believe that a human being, regardless of their paternal instinct, would go to the extremes that this defendant has throughout his son's entire life," Sprague said in another statement.

"Donald LaRock enabled and allowed his son to become this murderer and did nothing to help stop his future criminal conduct.

"He knew the Brown family and he knew Liam and to not call the police and report this, but to help aid the murderer, is just unconscionable."

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