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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    25 to life given in Hudson slaying


    Emotions ran high in a county courtroom Tuesday as a man who claimed he was on a mission from God when he killed a retired schoolteacher in 2006 was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

    William Demagall, 27, was found guilty in November of second-degree murder after a second trial for the stabbing and bludgeoning death of George Mancini, 56. The retiredHillsdale schoolteacher and mathematician was killed, then set on fire Feb. 11, 2006, at his Breezy Hill Road home.

    Demagall escaped from a secure mental ward at Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts and hid in a cave just before the killing.

    When asked by Judge Jonathan Nichols if he had anything to say before sentencing, Demagall looked straight ahead and said, “”No thank you, your honor.””

    Law enforcement officials said at the time that Demagall told them he looked directly into Mancini’s eyes as he stabbed him dozens of times because he wanted to see Mancini’s soul as he died.

    Demagall, who has a faint tattoo of a symbol for Merlin on his forehead, stood trial despite being diagnosed as mentally ill.

    “”The brutality of this cannot be overstated as this victim begged for his life,”” Nichols said in handing down the maximum sentence.

    Columbia County Senior Assistant District Attorney David M. Costanzo told the court Demagall knew what he was doing.

    “”There is no doubt William Demagall is mentally ill, but it is the extent that he knew the difference between right and wrong,”” Costanzo said. “”He acted as a clever and calculated individual who took several steps to keep from getting caught. Show him no sympathy.””

    The victim’s brother, Michael Mancini, told the court Demagall committed the murder to get the victim’s pain medication.

    “”This did not happen because God told him to do it,”” Mancini said. “”Demagall was there to steal his drugs he had to take for a bad back. He really got off on killing my brother. This has ruined my life and taken my brother away from me.””

    At one point during Mancini’s impact statement, Demagall’s father, Stephen Demagall, stood up and yelled “”Bull…”” Stephen Demagall was escorted from the room, but was allowed to return later.

    “”What bothers me is how my brother begged for his life when he was stabbed and bludgeoned,”” said Lisa Mancini, the victim’s sister. “”It is beyond comprehension how one human could do this to another. He used his mental illness as a tool for his defense.””

    Outside of court, Stephen Demagall said the family tried for years to get the defendant help. “”We tried for months to get him into a hospital, but he escaped three times. And as a result, George Mancini is dead,”” he said.

    He said that at times, his son thought he was Jesus. “”He would always go out into the woods and we constantly went out looking for him to try and get him help,”” Stephen Demagallsaid.

    Mental evaluations presented at trial revealed William Demagall suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed that he was at various times Robin Hood, Merlin, Sir Galahad of the Arthurian legends and a ninja.

    Defense attorney Richard Mott called the case a “”horrific event”” and asked that his client be given leniency.

    “”When you look at everything together, the sentence should be sufficient but not be more than necessary. My client should also get the mental health services he needs.””

    Mott filed a notice of appeal with the court.

    In statements made to investigators, Demagall said Mancini did not die quickly enough, so he bludgeoned him with a paperweight-type object hidden in a sock.

    Demagall was arrested two days after the murder by police in Schodack.

    Authorities arrested him after being called to a pharmacy by employees who told police Demagall had tried to trade jewelry for morphine.

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