Man faces 7 years in prison for assault

JOHNSTOWN – A Montgomery County man faces seven years in state prison after pleading guilty Thursday to assaulting a Johnstown man in Gloversville the same night he was stabbed to death in 2010.

Derrick R. Paul, 29, of 23 E. Main St., St. Johnsville, pleaded guilty before Judge Polly A. Hoye to counts of second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence in a case involving the late Brian Morrison of Johnstown.

Sentencing was adjourned until April 29, but Paul is expected to receive seven years in state prison as part of a plea arrangement.

Paul was arrested by Gloversville police July 2, accused of assaulting and robbing the 42-year-old Morrison before he was stabbed to death.

Paul did not face charges related to the stabbing – a point emphasized Friday by county Assistant District Attorney Chad Brown.

“[The plea] tied into the robbery,” Brown said. “It’s a separate and distinct act from the homicide.”

Paul was indicted by a county grand jury June 28 on charges of second- and third-degree robbery, second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

The grand jury said Paul’s alleged crimes against Morrison occurred before Morrison was stabbed.

Gloversville police are still investigating the homicide, and have not charged anyone with stabbing Morrison to death.

Gloversville police Capt. Anthony Clay said Friday that Morrison was alive when he left Doc’s Remedy Inn on Bleecker Street about 11:30 p.m., July 6, 2010. Some time between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, Clay said, police believe Paul assaulted Morrison, and – after a separate incident – Morrison’s body was found by Stephanie Moore on Bleecker Street with stab wounds to the neck. Morrison was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, where he was pronounced dead.

The grand jury’s indictment alleges Paul punched Morrison in the jaw, rendering him unconscious, and stole his wallet. The indictment further alleges that on July 6 or 7, 2010, Paul hid the wallet, which had no money in it, then destroyed it by burning it. Paul at the time was living in an apartment on Bleecker Street.