Jurors hear gripping testimony in Lake George boat death trial

April 19, 2017 06:52 PM

There was gripping testimony and what some may consider disturbing details during opening arguments in the manslaughter trial of Alex West. He is accused in last year's deadly boating accident on Lake George.

Every seat was full in the small courtroom for opening arguments. Both sides came out firing, trying to sway the jury over what happened the night an 8-year-old was killed on Lake George.

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Alex West kept his eyes on the table as District Attorney Kate Hogan delivered her opening statement, laying out the series of events last July 25 and painting West as a drunken drug abuser using cocaine and hash at Log Bay Day, then setting off for dinner in Bolton Landing where he drank more.

"He got up bright and early to have a full day of partying. He was going to Log Bay Day," noted Hogan.

Hogan told the jury about the McCue family's after-dinner cruise with the grandkids. How 8-year-old Charlotte fell asleep on her mother's lap and then how West's father's boat came crashing over the top, killing the 8-year old and slicing her mother.

"Crushing Charlotte’s skull, fileting her body and causing almost immediate death – slicing up her mother at the same time," described Hogan.

WEB EXTRA: Alex West Trial - Opening Arguments: Prosecution

West's lawyer, Katie Conklin, reminded the jury the case isn't about the emotion of a child being killed.

"Every chance they get, they’re going to try to make them the good people and him the bad guy," countered Conklin.

She questioned why the driver of the other boat, the 8-year-old's grandfather Robert Knarr, refused a breathalyzer and why he didn't see West's boat coming.

WEB EXTRA: Alex West Trial - Opening Arguments: Defense

The district attorney told the jury West fled and hid after the crash. He didn't report the accident until the next morning.

"The boat came out of nowhere. We didn’t even see it until we had already hit it. We didn’t see any lights or anything," Hogan read off a statement.

Conklin argued horrific accidents change behavior.

"Even just a little fender bender can shake somebody up," pointed out Conklin.

The jury then heard 911 tapes along with testimony of a neighbor and his son who witnessed the crash, the step-grandmother of the victim and also from a 911 dispatcher.


WNYT Staff

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