Tonawanda News

Local News

June 21, 2013

Drake denied new judge

Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT —  More than 31 years after the killings in North Tonawanda, Robie Drake was back in Niagara County Court Thursday in preparation for his third homicide trial and his second court case before State Supreme Court Judge Richard Kloch. 

Drake, now 48, was 17 when he killed his peers Steven Rosenthal, 18, and Amy Smith, 16, in a parked car off River Road in 1981. Two of his previous guilty convictions have been tossed out, and now Drake awaits his third opportunity to convince a jury that although he killed the victims, he didn’t do so intentionally. 

The trial’s start is likely months away, but it inched closer Thursday afternoon when Kloch delivered his decisions on several pretrial motions. Most notably, Kloch denied a public defenders’ vehement request that he recuse himself from the case. 

The defense lawyers made many varied objections to Kloch presiding over the trial, including negative statements the judge made about Drake’s behavior at his last sentencing in 2010 and Kloch’s role as North Tonawanda city attorney when the killings took place in 1981. 

“Never did the police consult with me about Mr. Drake’s case,” Kloch said. “Never did they consult with me about any case.”

Assistant Public Defender Christopher Privateer also took issue with Kloch’s law clerk, Ron Winter, who previously served as an assistant district attorney for a period of time between Drake’s first and second trial. Although Kloch denied that Winter was involved in the case, he said he would not discuss the case with his clerk “in an exercise of extreme caution.” 

Privateer also brought up an alleged conversation Kloch had with one of the victims’ family members. He demanded an inquiry into what had been said, but Kloch said he didn’t remember the talk taking place, and said if it had, the discussion wouldn’t have been inconsequential. 

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue