Auburn (WSYR-TV) – The Cayuga County District Attorney's office will appeal a judge's decision to dismiss murder charges against David McNamara.
McNamara was charged with killing his former girlfriend, Katie Socci of Auburn. She was found strangled last June. Tuesday morning, the judge ruled that prosecutors denied McNamara an opportunity to testify in front of the grand jury.
McNamara was indicted and arraigned in October on a charge of second degree murder. He was arrested on unrelated drug charges the day after Socci’s body was discovered, and he remains imprisoned on those charges.
McNamara's attorney, David Elkovitch, said, "My notice of appearance says if you've got other charges you're going to present to the grand jury, if I'm still representing him, I want to know what they are so he can appear and testify. And that wasn't done. He didn't testify on the drug charges, but told me he wanted to on the murder.”
District Attorney Jon Budelmann said that his office was never told that McNamara wanted to testify.
If the DA doesn't win on appeal, the case has to start all over with the grand jury.
It was a tough day in court for the Socci family. They were visibly upset with the judge's decision to throw out this murder charge
NewsChannel 9 was able to speak with some friends of Katie Socci. They say they are surprised by the judge's decision, and that they are upset. Neighbors said they were hoping to have a conclusion sooner than later, so everyone can move on.
McNamara's attorney says this decision will prevent an even bigger delay in the long run. He says if this had gone to trial, without McNamara being given his rights, that would have needed a re-do as well.
Man suspected in Katie Socci murder sentenced on drug charges
Oct. 25, 2011
Auburn (WSYR-TV) – A man indicted in the murder of Katie Socci was sentenced on drug charges unrelated to the alleged killing on Tuesday.
David McNamara was sentenced to five years in prison as a result of the drug charge.
Within a day of the slain woman’s body being discovered off of Dunning Avenue in Auburn police began talking to McNamara, Socci’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her child.
Police indicated that McNamara was a “person of interest” in the homicide investigation. They indicted him on the second-degree murder charge last week.
Man long connected to Katie Socci killing indicted
Oct. 20, 2011
Auburn (WSYR-TV) – A man long connected to the killing of Katie Socci was indicted on Thursday.
David McNamara, 34, who was believed to be a "person of interest" in Socci's death, was indicted on a charge of second degree murder. Police say he strangled the 29-year-old nurse and left her in a shallow grave.
He was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday afternoon. He entered a not guilty plea.
McNamara was already in jail after he pleaded guilty to unrelated drug charges in September.
He is the father of Socci's infant daughter.
On June 15, 2011, Socci's body was discovered in a wooded area in Auburn shortly after a search-and-rescue operation where a worker's dog found a freshly turned mound of dirt off of Dunning Avenue.
Within a day, police were questioning McNamara. On June 16, police took McNamara into custody on drug charges.
He had a history of trouble with the law, including a prison term after being charged with forgery.
Socci's family expressed relief during a press conference to announce the new development in the police investigation.
"Nothing can bring back Katie," her father, John Socci, said. "Her daughter will never have a mother…will never have a father…but this is just one step in a long process. They’ve got a lot more work to do."
Auburn Police say they worked on the case each day.
"This is a case we talked about on a daily basis. The investigation took the entire time from the morning that Katie was reported missing until that Grand Jury indictment got handed up. We worked the case everyday,” said Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta.
The family expressed confidence in the police department's work from the beginning of its investigation.
"From the very start of this, one thing was obvious, we were surrounded by professional, compassionate and just outstanding people," John Socci said.
District Attorney Jon Budelmann says law enforcement has amassed a significant amount of evidence against McNamara.
"There's a tremendous amount of effort put forward on the case, researching everything from video surveillance to statements of witnesses, cell phones, computers,” Budelmann said.
He says the crime is particularly horrific and his office hopes to avoid a trial for the benefit of the family.
McNamara is scheduled to be sentenced next week on the drug charges.