LITTLE VALLEY — A 35-year-old Salamanca man was sentenced to more than 25 years to life in prison on his second-degree murder and other convictions stemming from a January 2020 slaying.
Jeremiah Desjarlais was sentenced Monday to 25 years to life on the murder conviction, 25 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision for his first-degree assault conviction and 15 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision for a first-degree strangulation conviction — all for the strangulation death of Chad Skoken on Jan. 12, 2020.
The sentences were set to run concurrently, Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori Rieman said.
Desjarlais was also convicted by a Cattaraugus County Court jury in June of tampering with physical evidence and concealing a human corpse, for which he received 1 ⅓ to 4 years in prison on both counts. The two sentences were concurrent, but they are consecutive to the murder, assault and strangulation sentences, Rieman said.
Skoken was found dead on that January 2020 day in a garage at 37 Waite Ave., Salamanca, following an investigation by that city’s police. The investigation led police to believe an altercation had taken place between Desjarlais and a third man with Skoken about 24 hours before Skoken’s body was discovered.
The third man, Derrick C. Marsh, 31, of Salamanca, was convicted of first-degree assault in the incident and was sentenced to 18 years in state prison. A jury found Marsh not guilty of all other charges including second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and concealing a corpse on May 14.
Rieman has said she believes Marsh and Skoken, who were neighbors, were fighting when Desjarlais placed a garrote over Skoken’s neck, which killed him. Marsh had run away and was not present when Skoken was murdered by Desjarlais, Rieman said.
IN OTHER COURT ACTION THIS WEEK:
• Angel Merced, 47, of Olean but currently in the county jail, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing, both class A misdemeanors, stemming from an Oct. 9 incident in the city of Salamanca. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
• John J. Becker, 27, of Leon but currently in the county jail, pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual conduct against a child, a class B felony. Rieman said that between Jan. 31, 2020, and May 7, Becker engaged in two or more sex acts with a child less than 11 years old. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
• Joseph E. Nelson, 20, of the town of Coldspring, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted assault, a class E felony, and third-degree burglary, a class D felony. The case resulted from incidents on Aug. 2, 2020, and July 7, in Coldspring, when Nelson assaulted someone with a deadly weapon and entered a building to commit a crime. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
• Michael Waterman, 36, of Machias, pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, stemming from a Nov. 29 incident in the town of Machias.