No Death Penalty for Men Charged with Trooper Murder

By Kiersten Mathieu

July 22, 2010 Updated May 17, 2006 at 1:38 AM EDT

The shooting death of a New York State Trooper will not become a federal death penalty case.

Three men are charged with murder for the death of Trooper Andrew Sperr in Chemung County. They’re also accused of robbing a bank.

33-year-old Anthony Horton, 45-year-old Bryan Adams and 42-year-old Wayne Adams will not be prosecuted in a death penalty trial.

All three men face several charges in Chemung County.

They’re accused of robbing the Chemung Canal Trust Bank in Big Flats on March 1.

State Police believe 33-year-old Trooper Andrew Sperr crossed paths with two of the men and died in a shoot-out.

Because the crime is connected to a bank robbery, the US Attorney’s office reviewed the case.

But it found it does not qualify for federal prosecution.

"They are declining a death penalty prosecution. So we will be going forward with the prosecution here in Chemung County on the charges which we have already sent and have been voted on by the Chemung County Grand jury," said Chemung Co. District Attorney John Trice.

Investigators believe Horton was the triggerman in the shooting death of Sperr.

His public defender is Richard Rich.

"Obviously we’re relieved to see one that the death penalty isn’t being sought. But also, secondly, we’re only going to be defending this case in one court," said defense attorney Richard Rich.

The District Attorney says it must still be decided if all three men will be tried together or separately for the murder and robbery charges.

In Elmira, people say they are shocked this case doesn’t qualify for a death penalty trial.

"I’m a retired New York State Police officer up here. You know, there’s no reason for this. This is just unbelievable," said David Pastrick of Horseheads.

"I don’t think that’s right because I believe in the death penalty for cases like this," said Amber Mack of Addison.

If the suspected shooter, Anthony Horton is convicted of 1st degree murder, his punishment would be life without parole, the maximum sentence allowed in New York.

Both Wayne and Bryan Adams will appear in Chemung County Court next week for pre-trial hearings.

And Anthony Horton will be back in court at the end of May.

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