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JURY REJECTS INSANITY CLAIM, FINDS MCGARY GUILTY IN WIFE'S STABBING

Clifford J. McGary was convicted Tuesday of trying to stab his wife of 48 years to death July 5.

The Niagara County Court jury of eight women and four men rejected the defense's claim that McGary was not guilty by reason of insanity, finding him guilty on one count after 4 1/2 hours of deliberations.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 21 by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, who presided over the three-week trial. The maximum penalty is 25 years in prison.

McGary, 70, of Sy Road, Wheatfield, was convicted of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated criminal contempt of court, second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He was acquitted on a third-degree menacing count stemming from an alleged choking incident with Jean McGary, 66, in April or May 2000.

On May 16, McGary struck his wife with the butt of a shotgun, leading to the second-degree assault count and one of the weapons possession charges.

All other counts resulted from the stabbing of Mrs. McGary in the chest with a knife in the couple's home. McGary fled the area but was apprehended with the knife in his car in Potter County, Pa., four days later.

He had been under psychiatric treatment since the May 16 incident and had been consuming several prescribed psychiatric medications, but the jury decided McGary was able to comprehend the nature of his actions.

McGary did not react as the verdicts were read. "I think he expected it," said attorney Angelo Musitano, who handled the defense with James J. Faso Jr.

Musitano said he's not sure if there will be an appeal. "There are issues, but I'm not sure Mr. McGary wants to go on fighting," he said. "When he was separated from his wife with the incarceration, he felt his life was over. . . . Believe it or not, he still loves her. He'll take that to his grave."

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