Clayton Murder Case Appears in New York Supreme Court
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WENY) -- On Wednesday, the attorney for Thomas Clayton was in the Supreme Court of the New York Appellate Division appealing his 2017 murder conviction. Clayton is serving a life sentence for orchestrating the murder of his wife, Kelley Stage Clayton, in 2015. He hired a man named Michael Beard to kill Kelley in the Clayton family home in Caton. Clayton was later convicted of both first and second degree murder in Kelley's death. He's serving his sentence at Sing Sing Correctional Facility outside of New York City. Clayton wasn't in court for the appeals hearing, but his family was.
Both Clayton's Attorney Brian Shiffrin and Chemung County District Attorney, Weeden Wetmore each had 15 minutes to present their arguments to a panel of judges. Clayton's Attorney claims cell phone expert Sy Ray's testimony should be thrown out, calling his geolocation tracking junk science. He also claims there's no direct evidence, like a contract or texts from Clayton telling Micheal Beard to kill his wife. Shiffrin calls the situation completely circumstantial, and claims the times given during the testimony of two witnesses, Mark Blandford and Jennifer Butler, contradicts the times prosecution claimed Beard committed the murder.
During Wetmore's time, he told the judges he believes the evidence is legally sufficient and supported the verdict. Wetmore says Clayton gave Beard the means to kill Kelly, like a truck and bike. As for Sy Ray, Wetmore says his methods are not new science and claims Judge Bradstreet properly executed his power to deny a Frye Hearing, so Sy Ray could testify. With that testimony, Wetmore says it placed Beard and Clayton together at crucial times.
WENY News spoke with Wetmore after the hearing and he says while he wished they had more than 15 minutes to give their points, he thinks it went well. Wetmore believes the decision should be handed down in a couple of months.