Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III announced today that Lance Leonard (DOB 10-1-63) of Cuttyhunk, MA, pleaded guilty to the crime of Coercion in the First Degree, in violation of Section 135.65(1) of the Penal Law, as a Class “D” Felony before Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano, based upon his making threatening statements “to another person and instilling in the victim fear that he would cause physical injury to himself or another person.” This plea stems from an incident wherein the defendant communicated with the victim on March 5, 2013 while she was in Saratoga County. The Saratoga Springs Police Department and Skidmore Campus Safety worked collaboratively to ensure the safety of the potential victim and the students on the Skidmore campus. As a result of this effort, at no time were any of the students in danger, as the defendant was quickly located in New Jersey and apprehended by the Atlantic City Police Department. At no time was the defendant physically in the Saratoga area, and his threats were made either telephonically or electronically. After he was apprehended, defendant was shortly thereafter extradited from New Jersey to New York State to face the charges to which he plead today in County Court. The victim in the case knew the defendant and had recently terminated a relationship with him. The District Attorney’s Office is not characterizing the nature of the relationship, other than to say that the parties had known each other for many years. The victim fully participated in the disposition of the case, having worked closely with Assistant District Attorney Lyn Murphy (no relation to DA Murphy). Further, the victim is satisfied with the felony plea of Coercion in the First Degree and requested that the Judge sentence the defendant to probation with appropriate treatment. The District Attorney’s Office will take the victim’s recommendation and concerns into consideration, but will also ask the Judge at the time of sentencing for a period of incarceration, in addition to probation, as well as intensive mental health treatment and an order of protection. DA Murphy said “Threats of violence of this nature occurring in our community must be dealt with swiftly and judiciously. A plea to the highest charge possible was the only option we would consider due to the fear the defendant instilled in this young woman. The Saratoga Springs Police Department worked with law enforcement in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey to track the defendant, bring him to Saratoga and hold him responsible for his now admitted criminal conduct. I appreciate the good work of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and Skidmore Campus Safety who safeguarded the faculty, students and staff, and at the same time allowed business to go on “as usual”, without too much inconvenience, recognizing that we must be vigilant during these unusual and thankfully rare events.” The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm. It isanticipated that the defendant will be sentenced to a period of incarceration together with probationary supervision, which will include mental health counseling and treatment, as well as an order of protection for 8 years beginning from the date of sentencing. It is unclear if the victim will be present to make a statement to the court at the time of sentencing.