Amsterdam man sentenced for fatal 2015 Duanesburg crash

July 18, 2016 01:59 PM

An Amsterdam man will spend the next six to 18 years behind bars after pleading guilty to causing a car crash that killed three people last year.

Joseph Duffy, 28, seemed disinterested and combative as the sentence was handed down and now the victims' family members want harsher sentences in the future.

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“That’s not true. That’s not true,” said Duffy while arguing with County Judge Matthew Sypniewski about facts contained in the pre-sentence investigation. Other times, Duffy seemed bored. And he never directly apologized for his actions.

"It didn't seem to really hit him the way it should have," noted Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney.

At the end of the hearing, Duffy was told he would spend the next six to 18 years behind bars for killing Betty Brockhum, Vanessa Cohn and Summer Penny while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in a crash last year on Route 30 in the town of Duanesburg.

“It’s been a horror since September 2nd,” said Raymond Young, who was Penny’s grandfather, Cohn’s father, and Brockhum’s ex-husband. “And it’s something that our family has to learn to live with now.

WEB EXTRA: Victims' families speak out at Duffy sentencing

Under the law, all three lives were taken in a single act: the car crash. So all the sentences have to be served at the same time instead of one after the other, reducing the amount of time served.

"He took three lives. He should not be allowed to walk the streets in as little as six years, and we don't get to see our family anymore. It's not right at all," declared Monica Stanton, Brockhum’s daughter, Cohn’s sister, and Penny’s aunt.

D.A. Carney says Duffy will most likely serve 12 years, with good behavior.

Family members wanted Duffy to get more time, but understand that the law doesn't allow it. Now, they want those laws changed.

“Six to 18 is not long enough,” said Stanton. “No other family should have to go through this. Things need to change.”

“I can’t imagine the grief this man is gonna bring some other family when he gets out,” said Stanton through tears. “Because he’s gonna do it again.”


Ben Amey

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