3 indicted, accused of lying in Johnstown murder case
Women’s words led to arrest of man later released
JOHNSTOWN The three women accused of lying to or misleading police and the grand jury investigating the July 6 murder of Brian Morrison were indicted Friday in Fulton County Court.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira said the deception “set the investigation back” and led to the arrest and indictment of 40-year-old Derek Kenney, who after new information was developed and a second suspect identified was released in October. All charges were dismissed against Kenney by Judge Polly A. Hoye.
The 42-year-old Morrison, a grounds crew supervisor in the Gloversville Enlarged School District, was walking home from a Bleecker Street tavern when he was attacked and stabbed once in the neck. His body was found on a front lawn near the intersection of Lincoln Street.
The indictment accuses the women of lying or failing to disclose that they knew that their acquaintance, Derrick Paul, 27, who was then residing on Bleecker Street, attacked Morrison.
Police have said Paul later admitted he struck Morrison and stole his wallet but denied stabbing him.
Paul told police that Morrison fell in the same location where the body was found minutes after the assault.
While charges have been dropped against Kenney, Sira said Friday that both Kenney and Paul are considered suspects in the case. No charges have been filed against Paul, who told police he burned the wallet in a barbecue grill.
The indictments include:
u Stephanie L. Moore, 20, of Bleecker Street, on counts of first-degree perjury, making a punishable false written statement and hindering prosecution in the third degree.
u Rebecca Abraham, 37, of Warren Road, Mayfield, on two counts of hindering prosecution.
u Kayla Bowman, 23, of Main Street, Johnstown, on two counts of hindering prosecution and one count of making a punishable false written statement.
The perjury count against Moore is the only felony and carries a maximum sentence of 11⁄3 to four years in prison.
It accuses Moore of lying to the first grand jury, which was in session last August. Her grand jury testimony reiterated information she provided police on July 8 in a written statement, the indictment charges.
The hindering count accuses Moore of rendering “criminal assistance” to Paul “providing such person with means of avoiding discovery or apprehension … namely [that Moore] did fail to disclose information of which she had direct knowledge about material facts relating to an altercation between Derrick Paul and Brian Morrison and [of Moore’s] discovery of the body of Brian Morrison.”
Police did not identify Moore in the days following the murder, but they disclosed that a young woman reported finding the body while she was walking along Bleecker Street.
The indictments accuse both Abraham and Bowman of rendering criminal assistance to Paul by misleading police about Paul’s contact with Morrison.
Kenney, who was observed by police lingering near the crime scene as officers began their investigation, was arrested July 9 and indicted in September for the murder.
Police continued their investigation and discovered the new information after Kenney’s indictment.
Sira conducted a news conference in late September to announce the revelations in the case.
Evidence against Kenney included an eye-witness who told police he was sitting on a front porch several properties away from the crime scene when he saw Kenney approach the victim.
Gloversville police are still asking for the public’s assistance in solving the murder. Anyone with information has been asked to contact the department.
To date, a news release said, police have examined 150 leads involving around 400 people.
The women were arraigned in County Court before Judge Hoye, who released them without bail.
Bowman will complete her arraignment at 2:30 p.m. July 6. Moore and Abraham completed their arraignments and are scheduled for case conferences July 29.