NYLON – A Cattaraugus county resident who admitted to stabbing a man to death to collect his life insurance and move in with his wife in 1994 had his sentence shortened due to a legal technicality.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr.’s office, Randall Delbert Knight, 60, conspired with his lover, Cheryl Gasper, wife of Andie Gasper, to kill Andie in order that they might share in the proceeds of his life insurance policy and move into a ‘dream house,’ and was originally sentenced to 288 months’ incarceration for his crime. Hochul announced today that a legal agreement had finally been entered in reference to the sentence.
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“Today’s stipulation ensures that a confessed murderer, having previously been acquitted in State court, will not escape prosecution based upon the claimed deficiencies of his prior attorney,” said Hochul. “More than 20 years after their son and brother was ruthlessly murdered, the Gasper family will hopefully find some peace knowing that they will not have to hear from Mr. Knight ever again.”
After he was sentenced, Knight claimed that the attorney who represented him at the time of his plea in federal court was deficient in that the attorney failed to raise and consider, prior to his plea of guilty, a potential statue of limitations defense.
The defense could have been based the fact that the statue to which Knight pled guilty was governed by a five year statue of limitation period as of the date of the homicide. However, that law was was amended after the homicide, and the statue of limitation period was removed.
The stipulation and settlement agreement approved by Chief Judge Skretny calls for Knight to be sentenced to 168 months imprisonment instead of 288 months. Knight has forfeit the ability to further attack this deal.
At the hearing, Knight’s current attorney cross-examined his former attorney over the course of three days. The hearing also included testimony from a federal prosecutor who handled the matter at the time of plea, and Knight himself.
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