Reactions to Garafalo’s guilty plea in Saratoga Springs death

One of the brothers accused in the death of a retired correction’s officer pleaded guilty to assault Friday afternoon.

Jordan Garafalo is expected to be sentenced to three years in connection with the death of 56-year-old Mark French this December.

Jordan Garafalo was originally charged in a three count indictment with manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, and assault in the second degree. By pleading guilty to assault in the second degree, the counts of manslaughter were both dismissed.

Garafalo’s attorney George LaMarche says his client owned up to his role in the incident.

LaMarche argues the owners of Clancy’s Tavern were the initiators. He says there was a disagreement on Aug. 14, 2021 involving the Garafalo brothers inside Clancy’s Tavern and the owners of the bar escorted them outside, and began fighting the brothers instead of calling police.

“Then Mark French, after Jordan had been on the ground the fifth time, advances towards James in an aggressive way, yelling that James had hit his son, and only then did Jordan throw a punch to stop it,” LaMarche said.

Police say the two brothers attacked French, knocked him down, and caused him to hit his head on the ground. The retired corrections officer died at Albany Medical Center.

Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen told us they anticipate Jordan will receive three years in prison, followed by three years of supervision once he’s released.

Her opponent in this year’s election, Michael Phillips, says Garafalo should face more time. Phillips questions why the district attorney’s office did not release the video.

“It’s clearly going to show this man was sucker punched in the back of the head and never saw it coming,” Phillips said.

Phillips says three years is not enough time.

“It’s disturbing, and it’s candidly not acceptable,” he said.

“This was an extremely difficult case where the court could likely rule the defendant was entitled to assert that he was justified in punching the victim in self-defense,” she stated.

Garafalo’s attorney says he saw the video in its entirety.

“The evidence I ultimately saw was very favorable to Jordan Garafalo,” said LaMarche.

Jordan’s brother, James Garafalo, was recently sentenced to four and a half years in state prison.