Man pleads not guilty in NYS trooper's death

By Haley Burton
By Kelly McCarthy

August 13, 2014 Updated Aug 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The man accused of intentionally hitting and killing a New York State Trooper pleads not guilty to first-degree murder and 10 other charges.

Almond Upton, 60, of Melrose, Florida., entered a plea of not guilty in Broome County Court Wednesday morning.

He did not speak at the court proceeding and is being represented by Jay Wilber, a public defender.

Upton is accused of intentionally swerving on northbound Interstate 81 in May to hit New York State Trooper Christopher Skinner, 42, who was conducting a routine traffic stop on the side of the highway.

Skinner died instantly.

Along with some of Trooper Skinner's family, 13 New York State Troopers were in court this morning for Upton's arraignment.

"It's just a support for the family and we'll continue to do that as this whole process moves forward," said Maj. Donald Faughnan, Troop C Commander, "And even after sentencing. We're there for the family and we're going to remain there."

Along with mourning the loss of one of their own. New York State Police Troop C has been the lead investigators in the case against Upton.

"It was certainly, probably the most difficult kind of investigation for us to conduct," Maj. Faughnan said, "But it has been done with a great deal of professionalism, the investigators that are assigned have been tremendous and I think we put together a very strong case."

On Aug. 6, a Broome County grand jury handed up an 11 count indictment against Upton.

Upton is charged with the following:
- Murder in the first degree
- Two counts of assault in the second degree
- One count of criminal mischief in the second degree
- Two counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree
- Five counts of reckless driving

District Attorney Gerald Mollen and Senior Assistant Joshua Shapiro are prosecuting the case.

Upton's next court appearance is a conference with Judge Cawley scheduled for August 29.