Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen reports today that Albert B. Mercer, dob 12/11/55 of 48 Zepher Lane, Saratoga Springs, New York, was convicted today by a Saratoga County Jury of Manslaughter in the First Degree, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 125.20(1), a Class “B” Violent Felony, and Tampering with Physical Evidence, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 215.40(2), a Class “E” Felony.
In the evening hours of June 30, 2018, the victim, Patrick Collins, observed defendant Albert Mercer physically shove Lori Mercer- Albert’s wife and Patrick’s cousin- out of the Mercers’ residence at 48 Zephyr Lane. As a result of defendant Albert Mercer’s actions, Lori Mercer was forced to spend the night elsewhere. The next morning, Lori Mercer returned by herself to the Mercer residence at 48 Zepher Lane. Her cousin, Patrick Collins remained concerned for her welfare. This concern intensified when Lori fell asleep and did not respond to Patrick’s text messages. Patrick obtained a ride to Lori’s residence and proceeded to knock on her door to check on her. Lori answered and an argument between Patrick and the defendant Albert Mercer ensued. During this dispute, the defendant asked Patrick to, “Take it outside.” Patrick exited the residence while the defendant grabbed an 11.5-inch military style knife with a 6-inch blade and pursued Patrick outside. The conflict continued outside and culminated in the defendant thrusting the knife into Patrick’s chest, causing his death.
At trial, the defendant Albert Mercer raised a justification defense wherein he claimed he believed Patrick Collins was going to retrieve a weapon to kill him. The jury ultimately rejected this justification defense. There was no credible evidence presented that Patrick was ever armed with a weapon.
First Assistant District Attorney Alan M. Poremba noted, “It is especially difficult to prevail at trial where the victim is deceased and the defendant asserts a justification claim. Had it not been for the courage of the witnesses who came forward and testified, the outcome could have been very different.” Poremba also noted the thorough and complete investigation of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, with the assistance of the New York State Police Forensic Investigations Unit. Poremba said that “The work of law enforcement in this case was outstanding since the initial call on July 1, 2018. They worked collaboratively to identify and speak with every relevant witness, they meticulously collected physical and biological evidence from numerous locations and continuously worked to provide the evidence needed by the prosecution to provide to the jury a true picture of what occurred at 48 Zepher Lane on July 1, 2018”.
District Attorney Heggen said, “Justice was served today by the jury returning a guilty verdict of Manslaughter in the First Degree and Tampering with Physical Evidence. The jury methodically and diligently reviewed all of the physical and testimonial evidence presented and found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant Mercer had acted with intent to cause serious physical injury to Patrick Collins and had caused Collins death. The jury further found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant Mercer was not justified in his actions. The jury also found defendant Mercer committed the felony of Tampering with Physical Evidence by washing away the blood of Patrick Collins at the crime scene using water from a hose”.
The trial began on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 with jury selection and continued until closing arguments on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The jury deliberated for approximately two days, returning the above verdict at approximately 11:30 am today. The trial involved over 25 witnesses, and over 200 items of evidence. Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard E. Sise presided over the trial. The defendant was represented by Andrew DeLuca and Kyran Nigro. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Alan M. Poremba, and assisted by Assistant District Attorney Andreanna Diliberto.