May 3—PLATTSBURGH — Vincent Abrams was found guilty by a jury for the murder of Melissa Myers last year.
Abrams, 45, was charged with Myers' death five days after she was found dead on the floor of her apartment at 97 Boynton Ave. around 4 a.m. on June 4, 2022 in the City of Plattsburgh.
She died of multiple stab wounds to her neck.
The Plattsburgh City Police Department was joined by State Police, the Clinton County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies in investigating this case last summer.
FAMILY: 'RELIEVED, OVERJOYED'
The jury rendered its verdict Wednesday in Clinton County Court before Judge William Favreau shortly before noon after about five hours of deliberations, which started Tuesday afternoon.
Abrams was in court for the verdict standing next to his defense attorney Greg LaDuke. He did not react when the verdict was read.
"We are relieved and very happy and overjoyed that he is getting what he deserves," Myers' sister, Crystal Myers, said following the verdict.
District Attorney Andrew Wylie said he and Assistant District Attorney Vivian Joo were also, "extremely pleased" with the verdict.
"We put in an extraordinary amount of work, especially in the last couple months," Wylie said.
"The case kept getting adjourned and adjourned for multiple reasons, but we were finally able to start it last week and I think we were both surprised by the time frame of it, you know, how quickly it went."
"It gives closure to the family — that's the main thing," Joo added. " and justice ... for the victim."
SEVEN DAYS OF TESTIMONY
In seven days of testimony, the jury heard how the night of June 3, 2022, there were several people, including Abrams, at Melissa Myers' apartment doing drugs and hanging out.
At one point later in the evening, Myers asked everyone to leave because she was expecting a visit from her "plug," which was a drug supplier from New York City.
Everyone left the apartment and Wylie laid out a case where each one was cleared with an alibi except Abrams. In interviews with police, Abrams said he did go back to Myers' apartment in the early morning hours June 4 and she let him in.
At first though, he said that he went to her apartment and heard someone say, "shut up," and he ran.
Abrams told police in interviews that he did not kill Myers and that he had special affection for her because she shared the astrological sign of Leo with him.
In his closing statement, Wylie wondered why Abrams did not rush in to help Myers, his so-called Leo buddy, if he thought she was in trouble.
LaDuke said the door to the apartment was open, Abrams went in, saw the body and got scared, which is a sign of panic and not murder.
The jury, though, ultimately found Abrams guilty of all four charges he faced: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
JOO: TIMELINE SOLID
Joo said she believes the jury was swayed by the witnesses and timeline they presented to them over the last week and a half.
"I think they found our witnesses credible," she said.
"We told them up front that they have criminal histories, they use drugs, but they believed them ... that, and the timeline we had, I think, was very tight as far as placing him at a certain time and what he did afterwards."
Video from various cameras in the area showed Abrams running through the neighborhood near 97 Boynton Ave. around 1:30 a.m. carrying a long object and a bag of some sort.
Taxi driver James Loveday, sent to 97 Boynton Ave. also said he saw a Black man run down the stairs of the apartment and head off toward North Catherine Street around 1:30 a.m. The taxi driver said the man was carrying an item of some length.
In one interview, Abrams acknowledged seeing the taxi when he left the apartment that night.
Wylie said if they didn't have this component, it would have been an issue for them in presenting their case to the jurors.
"James Loveday shows up at 1:30 a.m., exactly when the defendant's leaving," Wylie said.
"That was extremely beneficial to our case."
Police later discovered several items of evidence including Myers' Michael Kors purse, two knives, a waxine baggy with the initials SRT (Myers' sign), a crack pipe, a portion of a pack of Newport cigarettes (Myers' smoked Newports) and part of a vacuum cleaner.
Those items were found behind Lucenda Storage off Sailly Avenue, an area where Abrams was seen on video in the early morning hours of June 4. Abrams' DNA was later found on the crack pipe found at this location.
"Even though it was only one item that we actually had the defendant's DNA on, it was a crucial item," Wylie said.
"I mean, it was extremely crucial because it was found within feet of the two knives and then the purse and vacuum."
WYLIE WAS CONFIDENT
Wylie added that, even though the jury returned several times over the course of their deliberations to review evidence such as the surveillance footage timeline and the initial 911 call from Myers' sister Renee Cator, he didn't get nervous about the potential verdict.
"It's interesting what the jury comes back and asks for, like if they're coming back and they're asking for certain read backs of testimony, and depending on who that witness was and what that witness testified to, you can kind of get an idea of where they're going," he said.
"I was always pretty confident ... that we were at least heading in the right direction with the jury and then today when they came back and looked for some further clarification, I was like we'll be back before lunchtime. I was pretty confident about that."
Wylie said if he could do one thing differently in the case, he would have talked more about Myers and her life.
"One of the things we may have been able to do better on the case is to actually talk about Melissa a little bit more and kind of show who she was outside of June 4 or June 3, of her addiction and selling drugs in the community, but who she was before that," Wylie said.
"Obviously, that didn't have an impact on the jury's verdict."
Abrams' sentencing is now scheduled for Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Wylie said Abrams will potentially face a life sentence in prison.
"Because he's convicted of murder in the first degree, because that robbery component was part of that charge, he's facing life without parole," he said.
"And that's what we're gonna be asking for."
LaDuke declined to comment on the verdict, but he did say that he plans to file an appeal in the case.