By Bera Dunau The Cooperstown Crier
The Daily Star
---- — The murder trial of Michael Buck has been scheduled to begin July 7, according to Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl.
The date was set Monday in the chambers of Otsego County Court Judge John F. Lambert in a pre-trial conference.
Buck, 33, is alleged to have killed his father, Joseph Buck, 64, in an incident in the early morning hours of Sept. 21 in the Middlefield home they shared. Buck received a bullet wound to his right cheek, and authorities say that two handguns were involved in the incident.
Buck has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree criminal assault, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree and two counts of third-degree criminal weapons possession. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years to life in prison.
“Things are proceeding,” said Thomas Hegeman, Buck’s court-appointed attorney, when asked about the morning’s conference.
Both Hegeman and Muehl said that no forensic test results, including ballistics tests, have come back from the New York State Police Crime Laboratory System.
“It takes forever,” said Hegeman.
Muehl said that the length of time the crime lab is taking is not unusual, and that not having the results yet wasn’t affecting his ability to proceed.
Muehl also said that, in addition to the scheduling of the trial date, the discovery phase was confirmed to be moving forward during the conference. Additionally, he said, the defense expressed their intention to hire a psychological expert.
“It’s just moving along as expected,” said Muehl, when asked about the speed of the case. “Murder takes more time than other cases.”
Even though a trial date has been set, Muehl said that he has not ruled out offering Buck a plea deal.
“Definitely at some point I’m going to be making a plea offer,” said Muehl, who did not give specifics on when this might be.
In other legal news, Muehl said that Barry Renert will be appearing before a grand jury today to determine the charges, if any, on which he will be indicted.
Renert has been accused of entering the Seventh Inning Stretch store in Cooperstown on the morning of Dec. 23, dressed in black and wearing a mask, and menacing his former employer, Vincent Carfagno, with a 9mm Glock handgun. Carfagno produced his own handgun and fired at Renert, missing him but causing Renert to flee. Renert was apprehended in Virginia later that night.
Renert, who has been charged with second-degree burglary, waived extradition and was brought back from Virginia last week. He is being held at the Otsego County Jail, and bail has been set at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.