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Sentence reduced in brother's slaying

A Hinsdale man who has been serving 25 years in prison for the shotgun death of his brother in 1999 has been given a reduced sentence of 14 years based on his appeal granted by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

David A. Simpson, 49, formerly of McMahon Road, was resentenced Monday by Judge Larry M. Himelein on his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter to serve a 14-year definite term in prison and five years of post-release supervision.

Simpson and his brother, Danny J. Simpson, 44, had argued most of the day June 4, 1999, in their family home. Danny was killed at close range by a shotgun blast. The gun was recovered by state troopers at the scene.

David Simpson was charged with second-degree murder. At that time, District Attorney Edward M. Sharkey said he would prosecute the murder charge based on an eyewitness account and tests made on the shotgun.

Instead, just as jury selection was to have started, Simpson pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. On Jan. 18, 2000, Himelein sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

His attorney at the time, Raymond W. Bulson of Portville, said Simpson decided not to go to trial to spare his family.

Simpson subsequently appealed his sentence through Donald M. Thompson, a Rochester attorney.

A decision June 9, 2006, by the State Supreme Court stated that Simpson appealed his sentence because Himelein failed to advise him of the mandatory period of post-release supervision.

The Fourth Judicial Department said, "The failure of a court to advise of post-release supervision requires reversal of the conviction."

Simpson was freed from prison but has remained in the Cattaraugus County Jail until his sentencing this week.

Sharkey said the 14-year sentence was agreed upon with Simpson's attorney, public defender Mark S. Williams.

Sharkey said he agreed to the reduction because a trial would have been difficult, since one witness has died and two are out of state.

Himelein also issued an order of protection for several of Simpson's relatives who do not want to have any contact with him.

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