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Coggins sentenced to lengthy prison term for killing of Frewsburg couple

MAYVILLE – An Elmira man convicted in the deaths of a Town of Carroll couple was sentenced Monday to two consecutive 25-years-to-life prison sentences for his second-degree murder counts.

Chautauqua County Judge John T. Ward also sentenced Davide Coggins, 35, to lengthy, concurrent prison sentences for his arson, burglary and conspiracy convictions.

A jury in November returned the guilty verdicts against Coggins in the deaths of Gordon and Joyce Skinner of Frewsburg. Joyce Skinner, 59, had 17 stab wounds and Gordon Skinner, 66, had 12 wounds. Their bodies were found in their home, which had been set on fire, on April 17, 2013.

Coggins remained stoic as Julie Walker, the Skinners’ niece, read a victim impact statement in court.

“You are a disgusting human being,” Walker said. “Only someone with your demented, hate-filled mind could pull off an evening of terror like the one you subjected Joyce and Gordie to that night.”

Coggins and three other men went to the couple’s home.

The other three – Ricky Knickerbocker, 20; Steven Todd, 19; and Joshua McCormick, 22 – all pleaded guilty and were sentenced in January.

District Attorney David Foley called the crime one of the “most heinous” he has prosecuted and asked the judge for the maximum time on all counts.

Coggins turned to face the family when given the opportunity to speak. 

He said the judge and jury heard things the family didn’t know and added that he was not the one who killed the couple.

“I do take responsibility for bringing them there and I will serve my time,” Coggins said. “I am not going to make you try to feel story for me.” 

“I made a lot of mistakes that night,” he continued. 

Public Defender Nathaniel Barone said he was not surprised by the maximum murder sentences but had hoped for concurrent rather than consecutive terms. 

Coggins will be transferred from the Chautauqua County Jail to the Wende Correctional Facility to begin his terms. 

A large group of family, friends and supporters gathered with Walker and the Skinner family. The group included a neighbor of the Skinners who kept notes about an unusual vehicle parked on Wheeler Hill Road where the Skinners lived. He wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle. The four were caught within 24 hours of the report of the crime.

Jurors heard testimony of the victims’ multiple stab wounds and that Mr. Skinner was set on fire in his home. 

The couple was discovered when Mrs. Skinner’s boss went to the home to check on her whereabouts and spotted a fire in the lower level of the residence. 

Todd, who was 18 at the time of the 2013 murders, initially had agreed to cooperate in the prosecution against Coggins but backed out of the agreement. Ward in January sentenced Todd to two consecutive 25-year prison terms on two counts of manslaughter, the maximum allowable.

McCormick was sentenced to 35 years in prison on his guilty pleas to two counts on manslaughter, and Knickerbocker was sentenced to 32½ years, also on guilty pleas to two counts of manslaughter.

Foley has said he believed Coggins was the reason that the four men went to the Skinner home.