It was a bleak Father-Son Day at Ulster County Court for the Stansberry’s two weeks ago. But only one got to walk down the courthouse steps.
On Jan. 24—after Maurice Stansberry Sr., 38, and Maurice Stansberry Jr., 18, pleaded “not guilty” to second-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges—Stansberry Sr. fired his public defender.
Stansberry Sr., Stansberry Jr. and 18-year-old Kevin Gardener, all of Kingston, are suspects to a Dec. 1 incident involving a failed drug deal, a car chase and an armed robbery, resulting in the death of 39-year-old Mark Lancaster.
An Ulster County grand jury indicted Stansberry Jr. on Jan. 15 with second-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges. Stansberry Sr. was charged with two counts of Murder Second Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a weapon Second Degree.
Authorities have not said who among the three suspects — Stansberry Sr., Stansberry Jr., or Gardener— fired the fatal shot, though the prosecutor, Ulster County Senior Assistant District Attorney Emmanuel Nneji, said in court that the younger Stansberry was not the triggerman.
While Stansberry Jr. posted bail and is back in class at Kingston High School, his father did not catch such a lucky break.
Stansberry Sr. told Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams that he felt unsatisfied with his public defender, Russell Schindler, and he would like to hire a private attorney. He explained that his public defender waived his preliminary hearing “without my knowledge or consent,” according to The Daily Freeman.
It is within Stansberry Sr.’s rights to hire a private attorney, but for the time being, he will continue to be represented by the county Public Defender’s Office.
A court conference for the Stansberry’s cases is scheduled for March 19. According to a court clerk, Gardener is scheduled for a court conference on March 1.
In the meantime, both Stansberry Sr. and Gardener are being held in the Ulster County Jail without bail.