By KESHIA CLUKEY
For the Express
Friends, family and loved ones of both parties gathered at Amsterdam City Court last Wednesday morning for the bail hearing of Jose Merced, 29, of Amsterdam, accused of fatally stabbing Amsterdam resident Daniel J. Mowrey, 24, in front of a local tavern on Nov. 4.
Merced was charged with second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony. Prosecutors intended to have bail set at $100,000, but Merced was sent to jail without bail on Friday, Nov. 5 after he requested to have an attorney represent him.
He returned to court last Wednesday, represented by attorney Phil A. Rodriguez of Schenectady.
Merced pleaded not guilty to the charge and requested bail. Judge Howard Aison asked him questions regarding his residential, family, and criminal history.
Born in Puerto Rico, Merced said he spent the majority of his life living in Amsterdam, and is an American citizen. He is married but separated with four children, ages 10, 9, 5, and 4. Merced also said he is taking care of a fifth child, a 3-year-old, whose father is currently in prison for murder.
Prior to his arrest, Merced was doing landscaping work for a man out of Schenectady, he said. His educational background includes a GED, however Merced said his last grade completed was 11th.
Merced’s criminal background consists of two youthful offender judications, two misdemeanors, and a felony conviction for attempted burglary, of which he was ultimately released from state prison in 2008.
Rodriguez pleaded Merced’s case for bail saying “It looks like a case of self-defense,” adding he has obligations to his children.
County Assistant District Attorney Sarah J. Leszczynski asked for bail to be set at $100,000, saying Merced could be a flight risk since he has family in Puerto Rico. Leszczynski said District Attorney James Conboy is still waiting on scientific tests, and there could be more serious charges.
Aison set bail at $50,000 cash, $100,000 bond. Merced was sent to Montgomery County Jail. Rodriguez said. His next court appearance is scheduled tomorrow at 1 p.m.