John L. Reynolds, considered the mastermind in the fatal beating of Kevin King in the Town of Olean five years ago, was sentenced Friday to four to 12 years in prison on his second-degree manslaughter conviction.
Cattaraugus County Judge Larry M. Himelein imposed the sentence on Reynolds, who was convicted on Sept. 17, 1997, in a Little Valley courtroom. Reynolds, who continues to proclaim his innocence, was given until Tuesday to surrender.
Paul J. Cambria, who took over Reynolds' defense after the jury trial, said he will petition judges of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court Monday for an appeal stay in the case.
Cambria said he feels there are "significant issues on appeal" including Himelein's handling of the trial and the circumstantial evidence used to convict Reynolds.
Reynolds, who last July completed a one-year jail term after being convicted of drunken driving, told the judge he wanted to apologize to King's relatives but insisted he had nothing to do with the fatal beating.
"I did not hit him, I did not kill him," Reynolds told Himelein.
Nearly two months ago, Himelein turned down Cambria's bid to set aside the manslaughter conviction. On Friday the judge reminded Reynolds that he and seven other co-defendants in the case all had the opportunity to plead guilty before trial.
Reynolds, alone, sought a trial in the case. He could have faced five to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutor Diane M. LaVallee, who handled the Reynolds trial for the Cattaraugus County district attorney's office, said King, 28, was punched and kicked to death early the morning of Oct. 23, 1994, in the parking lot of the Eastside Pizzeria & Coffee Shop on Route 417 in the Town of Olean.
Ms. LaVallee became involved in the King case after the victim's family persuaded former State Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco to look into the case after a Cattaraugus County grand jury found no criminality in the death.
Two years ago, Reynolds' seven co-defendants pleaded guilty to various charges and received sentences ranging from one to seven years.