BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — A Florida man who deliberately ran down and killed a New York state trooper on an upstate New York highway was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without possibility of parole.
"I believe this was nothing less than an assassination," Judge Joseph Cawley said as he sentenced Almond Upton for the 2014 death of 42-year-old Trooper Christopher Skinner.
The Melrose, Florida, man was convicted on Aug. 5 of first-degree murder. In court Thursday, Upton, 62, apologized for his actions and expressed "deepest sorrow" to Skinner's family, according to the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin (http://press.sn/2fhgpzi ).
Prosecutors say the trooper was issuing a ticket along Interstate 81 near Binghamton when Upton drove his pickup truck at 93 mph into the officer. During the trial, prosecutor Ben Bergman quoted Upton as telling police he wanted to kill the trooper, and "my weapon was my truck."
Defense attorneys had argued Upton has bipolar disorder and was in a "manic state" at the time of the crash, making him unable to understand the consequences of his actions. During the trial, a state police investigator said Upton had claimed "Jesus and the devil told him to do it."
After striking the trooper, Upton fled into woods and was later taken into custody while standing naked in a field.
After the three-week trial that ended in August, jurors deliberated about eight hours over three days before rejecting the defense argument that Upton was not guilty by reason of mental deficiency.
Information from: Press & Sun-Bulletin, http://www.pressconnects.com