Man acquitted in burglary
JOHNSTOWN — A Fulton County Court jury on Thursday acquitted a Gloversville man of a felony burglary count, but found him guilty of a misdemeanor in a 2017 town of Caroga case.
The six-woman, six-man jury delivered the split verdict after three hours of deliberations in County Court before Judge Louise K. Sira in a case involving Eric S. Klena, 46. The verdict concluded a three-day trial.
Klena was found innocent of second-degree burglary, a violent felony, but guilty of misdemeanor petit larceny.
His counsel — attorney Kyle Davis of Johnstown — said Friday that Klena could have faced 15 years in state prison, but now faces only up to a year in county jail when he is sentenced at a later date.
Fulton County Assistant District Attorney William Berger prosecuted the case.
Klena was arrested July 7 by state police on charges of second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal contempt.
Troopers at the time said he allegedly entered a home on Fisher Road in Caroga on Wednesday and stole a chain saw and other tools. At the time of his arrest, police said Klena was in the company of Cori Ostrander, 35, of Mayfield, in violation of a court order that had directed him to stay away from her.
Davis said the jury found “reasonable doubt” in allegations that his client entered the Fisher Road home. He said he also believes he was able to get Klena acquitted of the most serious crime because of “effective cross examination of state police and other witnesses.”
Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown said Friday that Klena was said to have sold one of the items stolen in the burglary to another person.
But Brown said Ostrander was called to the stand for the prosecution, and her testimony was probably questioned by the jury. He said her testimony about the burglary, at which time she was under the influence of a controlled substance, lent some “baggage” to her as a witness.
The district attorney said there was no eyewitness to Klena allegedly committing the burglary, nor did he confess to police. He said the jury made the best determination it could, weighing Ostrander’s testimony.
“They just didn’t believe [Klena] went into the house and stole the property,” Brown said.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.