CARS HOMES JOBS

Scotia man charged in mother’s death

Son held on second-degree murder charge

Monday, July 15, 2013
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The homicide scene at 277 North Ballston Avenue in Scotia on Sunday, July 14, 2013.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
The homicide scene at 277 North Ballston Avenue in Scotia on Sunday, July 14, 2013.

— A young Scotia man was arrested early Sunday for allegedly murdering his mother in their North Ballston Avenue home.

Village police brought 20-year-old Jeffrey Steele into custody just after 2 a.m. According to a brief press release issued by Scotia Police Chief Pete Frisoni Sunday afternoon, Steele allegedly killed his 59-year-old mother, Theresa Bernard.

Steele is charged with second-degree murder. He was arraigned Sunday afternoon in Village Court and remanded to the Schenectady County Jail without bail.

The release provided few details and calls to Frisoni and Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney were not returned Sunday evening.

On Sunday evening, Scotia, Glenville and state police investigators were behind crime-scene tape at the 277 North Ballston Ave. home. As they taped off doors and worked inside, curious village residents and neighbors cruised past.

“This doesn’t happen in Scotia,” said Karen Trapini from the rolled-down window of a Cadillac.

Karen and her husband, James, have lived in Scotia, just a few blocks away from the crime scene, for 46 years.

“We raised three kids here and they all decided to come back to Scotia,” she said. “It’s a nice, safe place to live.”

She couldn’t remember the last time a murder happened in the village. James guessed that similar things happened a few times in the 1980s.

“But this sounds like a family dispute,” he said. “That could happen anywhere.”

They said Scotia is safe because it has its own active police department and neighbors know each other.

But few neighbors seemed to know Steele.

“I didn’t even know there was a woman and her son living there,” said Kathy Hastings, who lives within sight of the taped-off home.

She was up late watching the Zimmerman trial proceedings on television and didn’t hear the commotion of the early-morning arrest.

Several residents of an apartment complex one house away from the police tape said they had never met the family.

Only one person seemed to know much about Steele: Bob Loffredo, proprietor of the Fifth and Fifty Pizzeria, right next to 277 North Ballston Ave.

“He was sort of an odd guy,” Loffredo said. “Quiet, but very polite.”

He said Steele was in his shop at least two or three times a week, usually to get the “fried sampler.”

“It’s French fries, fried mozzarella sticks, onion rings, basically a little of everything we fry,” he said. “Watch, now no one will order it again.”

He described Steele as thin, dark-haired and nervous while talking.

 
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