September 16, 2010

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Man convicted in 1996 Ulster County teen murder

KINGSTON – A former Kerhonkson man was convicted of second-degree murder by an Ulster County Court jury on Wednesday for the bludgeoning death of another when they were 15 years old.  Daniel Malak, now 30, was found guilty of killing Joseph Martin by striking him in the head with a two-foot metal pipe.

Because Malak was 15 at the time of the murder, there is a maximum sentence of 15 years to life that may be imposed, said Ulster District Attorney Holley Carnright.

“I think the significance is that sentence will be served consecutively to the life sentence he is serving right now, and frankly, it is my hope that he will never be released from prison,” he said.

Martin, Malak and the third person, Alexander Barsky, were friends when they were teens.

The case began on March 25, 1996 when Barsky complained to Malak that Martin had “ripped off” Barsky. Barsky and Malak then conspired to arrange a meeting at a cabin where the three would meet to drink and smoke pot.

They beat Martin to death and then buried the body. Police questioned the two after Martin disappeared, but no charges were filed.

In November 2007, State Police reassigned the cold case to a new investigator, Peter Cirigliano, who went back over the files and re-interviewed Barsky, who eventually confessed to the killing 12 years before. He described how they committed the murder and took police to the area where Martin’s body had been buried.

During the course of the confession, police learned six years after the killing Barsky met with Malak while Malak was in prison on an unrelated murder conviction. Malak told Barsky to “take care of” the remains so Barsky returned to the scene of the crime, dug them up and took them to New York City where he threw them out.

Police combed the burial site, though, and found a blanket and tooth and small bone fragments. The DNA in the tooth matched that of Martin’s mother.

In return for Barsky’s cooperation against Malak, the district attorney’s office allowed Barsky to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

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