Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sleepy Hollow, NY: Sleepy Hollow man accused in wife's death faces upgraded charge

SLEEPY HOLLOW — Prosecutors upgraded a charge Monday against a Sleepy Hollow man accused of choking his wife, who later died of injuries suffered in the attack.
Christopher Howson, 49, was arrested Jan. 5 and initially charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree strangulation, as his wife, Theresa Gorski, 47, languished at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center on life support.
But Gorski, a Bronx public defender, was taken off life support Wednesday while Howson remained held in the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla without bail.
During an appearance Monday in Sleepy Hollow Village Court, prosecutors said that they were now charging Howson with second-degree murder and first-degree strangulation, both felonies.
Howson did not speak during the proceeding, which occurred in a courtroom packed with residents, many of whom were there to resolve minor misdemeanors like underage drinking.
A lawyer for Howson declined to comment after the brief proceeding before Justice Alfred Farella.
Howson did not enter a plea Monday and will next appear in Sleepy Hollow Village Court on Jan. 28, after which his case may move to the county courthouse in White Plains, where he will enter a plea to the charges.
Farella ordered Howson to stay away from Gorski’s mother, Virginia Gorski, and her sister, Joanne Gorski, who has been caring for the couple’s two children, ages 5 and 8. Authorities have not said what led to the attack, which occurred around 3 a.m. Jan. 5 at the couple’s New Broadway home.
The couple’s daughters were home at the time of the attack. Police arrived to find Theresa Gorski in cardiac arrest.
Gorski was an 11-year veteran of the Legal Aid Society, where she was a staff attorney in the Bronx office of the Juvenile Rights Practice.
Colleagues reacted to her death with “profound sadness,” Steven Banks, the society’s attorney-in-chief, said in a previously released statement.
“Staff in her office have reflected what a wonderful colleague she was and a passionate advocate for our clients,” Banks said. “She did not survive an act of domestic violence that occurred in her home.”

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