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Man gets life for killing girlfriend, infant son

BATH (AP) -- A contractor was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole for stabbing to death his estranged girlfriend and their 3-month-old son in this Steuben County town on Father's Day.

Bryan Ashline, 25, was convicted last month of first-degree and second-degree murder in the slayings of Trieste Clayton, 25, and son Xavier at her apartment in Bath on June 20, 2010.

During his 10-day trial, Ashline acknowledged he was the killer. But he maintained that he was overcome by "extreme emotional disturbance." The psychiatric defense allowed in New York State would, if successful, have resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

On the witness stand, Ashline testified that he feared he would no longer be allowed to be involved in his son's upbringing.

State police determined that Clayton was stabbed 13 times in the back while holding the boy and that, after she collapsed on the kitchen floor, the infant was stabbed three times in the chest and abdomen.


Guilt admitted in death from fire at meth lab

ELMIRA (AP) -- A 52-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with a fatal fire at a methamphetamine lab in a rural town in the Southern Tier.

Elmira media outlets reported Wednesday that Gary Varlan entered the plea in Chemung County Court this week in exchange for a sentence of two to six years and his cooperation in the case against co-defendant Brion Peters, also 52.

Varlan admitted that he placed a liquid fuel in a plastic container on top of a wood stove while making meth last May at a cabin he owned in the Town of Baldwin, just east of Elmira.

The fuel exploded and started a fire that destroyed the cabin and fatally burned 20-year-old Kanisha Wood.

Varlan is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20.