Two Columbia County residents admit to strangling man to steal his money

Two people have admitted to strangling a man to death so they could steal his money.

Cassandra Fischer, 31, and 30-year-old Ryan Woods, 30, both of Livingston, pleaded guilty in Columbia County Court on Tuesday to a reduced charge of attempted murder.

They admitted to strangling and beating Ed Kessler at their home in the hamlet of Elizaville.

An investigation by New York State Police revealed that the murder was part of a plot to defraud the man. After strangling and beating the man, they traveled to New Jersey to spend the weekend at a resort. When they returned three days later, they reported the man’s death, according to a news release.  

Prosecutors said Fischer had defrauded the victim out of thousands of dollars.

“This was a particularly brutal case in which the defendants took advantage of the elderly victim for money and ultimately took his life,” said Deputy Chief District Attorney Ryan Carty in a news release. “We are grateful to the investigators of New York State Police who worked tirelessly for more than two months to track the money involved, and solve this case. While this result will not bring back the victim, we hope it brings closure to the family.”  

Fischer and Woods face 15 years in prison when sentenced on Oct. 4.

[anvplayer video=”5192038″ station=”998132″]