Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dad convicted in Father's Day stabbing deaths of infant son, baby's mother (Watervliet, New York)

Fathers Rights people are always accusing moms of "gatekeeping." If anything, the opposite is true. Moms are basically not allowed or encouraged to use their discretion when it comes to visitation anymore. This mom had an order of protection against dad BRYAN ASHLINE for beating her. Yet she decided to be nice and let daddy visit the baby on Father's Day. He returned the courtesy by stabbing both her and the baby to death.

Slayings bring life without parole
Watervliet man stabbed to death his ex-girlfriend and their infant son

By CAROL DEMARE, Staff writer
Updated 08:42 p.m., Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Watervliet man who stabbed to death his ex-girlfriend and their infant son during a Father's Day visit to their western New York home was sentenced Wednesday to life without the possibility of parole for his conviction on two counts of first-degree murder.

Bryan Ashline, 25, a Watervliet High school basketball standout, made no comment to Steuben County Judge Joseph W. Latham during his morning sentencing. He was convicted by a jury on Nov. 2 following a 10-day trial.

"I was not surprised he got life without parole on both counts of first-degree murder," Steuben County District Attorney John C. Tunney said later in the day. "It's a nice one to have behind me" he said of the case.

Ashline acknowledged during the trial that he killed Trieste Clayton, 25, and their son, Xavier, 3 months, on June 20, 2010, but maintained he was overcome by "extreme emotional disturbance," a psychiatric defense allowed in New York that, if successful, would have resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge of manslaughter. The jury discounted it and convicted him after less than three hours of deliberations.

On two counts of second-degree murder for which he also was convicted, Ashline received sentences of 25 years to life, all to run concurrently with the first-degree murder sentence, Tunney said. Ashline also was convicted of aggravated criminal contempt and criminal possession of a weapon.

"The bottom line is he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison," he said. "He's in forever."

Tunney, who prosecuted the case, said Ashline's attorney, Assistant Public Defendant Thomas Stahr, asked the judge for a sentence that would give his client some hope that he might be paroled someday.

Tunney told the court, "The only appropriate sentence that would adequately respond to what he did and protect the community was life without parole."

Cynthia Watson, Clayton's mother, gave a victim's statement in court. She was "emotional but composed," Tunney said, as she told the court her daughter was her best friend.

Ashline robbed Watson of her daughter, her best friend and her grandson, Tunney said.

Ashline's mother and at least one sister was in the courtroom for sentencing, the DA said.

He had been held without bail since his arrest by troopers around 5 a.m. June 21, 2010, as he slept in his car at a Unadilla, Otsego County, rest area on Interstate 88. He left the murder scene at the home of his former girlfriend in Bath a few hours earlier.

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala he had borrowed to drive from his Watervliet home to Bath was tracked by the car's OnStar vehicle security system.

Ashline testified at trial that he was holding the baby and intended to run out with the child, but, in an attempt to stop him, Clayton grabbed a paring knife, Tunney had said.

In the confrontation, Ashline testified he dropped the infant and that was so upsetting to him, he killed both the mother and child, Tunney said. Testimony showed he used a butcher knife from the kitchen to stab Clayton 13 times in the back and the infant three times in the chest and abdomen.

The couple met in the Capital Region in 2008. Clayton, a 2006 graduate of Alfred University with a psychology degree, relocated to the area from her small community in the Finger Lakes region.

In August 2009, Clayton obtained an order of protection against Ashline, her live-in boyfriend, because he was drunk and beat her, angry that she was pregnant. The next day, Clayton's family returned her from Watervliet to Bath. Clayton agreed to let Ashline see his son on Father's Day