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Breaking News

June 5, 2014

Buck pleads to first-degree manslaughter

The Michael Buck murder case was resolved June 4 with a guilty plea to one charge of manslaughter in the first degree, a class B felony.

“I just think that for everybody concerned ... (it's) a very good and just outcome,” said Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl.

Buck pleaded guilty in Otsego County Court to the manslaughter charge. Under the plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, followed by five years of post-release supervision. Because this will be a determinate sentence, he will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least seven-eighths of it. Buck is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4.

Buck had been indicted on one charge of second-degree murder, one charge of first-degree assault, one charge of criminal use of a firearm in the first degree and two counts of third-degree criminal weapons possession. The plea agreement satisfies all charges.

Had Buck been convicted of second-degree murder, he could have been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The charges against Buck stem from an incident in the early-morning of Sept. 21 at the Middlefield home that Buck, then 33, shared with his father, Joseph Buck, 64. The incident left Joseph Buck dead, and Michael Buck with a gunshot wound to his right cheek.

In details released this week, Muehl said that Buck argued with his father, which then escalated into Buck firing a handgun. His father then got a handgun and returned fired.

Muehl said that the plea agreement was extended awhile ago, but that he hadn't expected it to be accepted when it was.

“I didn't know he was going to accept it before we went to trial today,” said Muehl on Wednesday.

Muehl and Buck's court-appointed attorney, Thomas Hegeman, attended a pretrial conference together at 2:30 p.m. June 4 in the chambers of Judge John Lambert, who is presiding over the case. It was there that Hegeman indicated his client would accept the plea agreement, after which Buck appeared in open court and entered his guilty plea.

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