Michael Beard’s First Degree Murder charge is upheld

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ELMIRA, NEW YORK (WETM-TV)- Michael Beard appealed his charges that stated his involvement in the murder of Kelley Clayton but it was just made official that the appeal was denied. Beard will spend his life behind bars.

Beard appealed his charges after being charged with murder in the First and Second Degree. Beard’s charges for Second Degree Murder have been dropped but his charge for First Degree Murder was upheld.

It was back in Sept 2015 when a jury found Beard guilty on one count of First Degree Murder and two counts of Second Degree Murder in connection to Kelley’s Sept 2015 death in her Town of Caton home.

The jury deliberated for a total of around seven hours over the course of Thursday and Friday. Kelley’s family members in attendance cried for joy upon hearing the verdict, and repeatedly said, ‘We got him,’ as they left the court house.

“Obviously we respect the jury’s verdict, it took seven hours to get there,” Kevin van Allen, one of Beard’s defense attorneys said. “We pointed out to them the issues, some of the lack of evidence in the case. We still feel strongly about that. In the meantime we’ll be speaking with our client and preserving his rights to appeal any post verdict motions that we intend to file, we’ll have to take a look at all that.”

“He kind of knew, I think,” John Putney, Beard’s other defense attorney said on Beard knowing the likely verdict. “When you’ve got a false confession, it’s an uphill battle.”

Beard is one of the three men charged in connection to the death of Kelley. He was allegedly hired by Kelley’s husband, former Elmira Jackal Thomas Clayton, to kill Kelley in the couple’s Caton home, and burn it down to cover the murder.

Below is the official release on Beard’s appeal denial:

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