New York ex-cons charged in Marist College parent's death ordered held without bail, plead not guilty
Marist College parent murder: Suspect shot dad with automatic pistol while wearing ski mask, boxers, indictment says
The two New York ex-cons accused in connection with the shooting death of the father of a local Marist College student at a Poughkeepsie hotel were ordered held without bail on Friday after they pleaded not guilty.
Roy Johnson and Devin Taylor are charged separately for their involvement in the October 2 shooting that led to the death of 53-year-old Paul Kutz and the discovery of an alleged bomb-making "manual."
Wearing a white t-shirt and an orange jail-issued jumpsuit with his hair up, Johnson – the man accused of opening fire and killing Kutz – appeared in New York's Dutchess County Court early Friday. Johnson, 35, was indicted on one count of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Taylor, 26, appeared separately from Johnson on two charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.
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Both men were ordered held without bail after each pleaded not guilty.
The charges stem from the Oct. 2 shooting death of Long Island native Paul Kutz inside a Courtyard by Marriott in Poughkeepsie, New York.
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According to the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, officers received a call around 7:30 a.m. Sunday for a report of a "disturbance" that involved shots being fired at a Courtyard by Marriott on South Road near Evergreen Avenue in Poughkeepsie.
Kutz had been visiting the area from Long Island for "Family Weekend" at Marist College, which is located approximately four miles away and is where one of his three sons is a student.
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Police arrived and discovered Kutz with gunshot wounds to his chest and torso inside the hotel, court records show.
Johnson is accused of walking into the hotel lobby on Oct. 2 with an automatic pistol before an outburst at the coffee bar, which involved "cursing and yelling while pacing," according to indictments released earlier this week.
He was carrying "a loaded, operable Glock Model 17 … which had been outfitted with a fixed pin to render it fully automatic," the indictment against him reads.
According to the indictment, Johnson stormed into the hotel lobby wearing a ski mask, an "Army-green" jacket and boxer shorts before opening fire with a fully automatic handgun.
After a clerk stopped him from trying to get behind the front desk, according to the indictment, he turned around and allegedly shot Kutz in the chest.
The bullet tore through his heart, lungs and liver and broke one of his ribs before exiting out his back, according to the indictment. He died within minutes.
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Johnson allegedly continued firing "numerous rounds" in the lobby and then another 22 outside the building. He put down the gun, took off his mask and jacket and left them with an electronic device in the parking lot, according to the indictment. He went back inside, where responding officers arrested him.
Taylor allegedly possessed a fully automatic 5.56 rifle with no serial number.
As officers closed in on Taylor in the hotel courtyard, he allegedly ditched a Walther handgun behind some bushes before he surrendered. Police recovered it at the scene, according to a bill of particulars filed with the indictments.
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Investigators also said they found "improvised munitions handbooks," ammunition, "one model fbg6 flash bang" and a smoke cannister in the men’s hotel room.
Both Johnson and Taylor have prior felony convictions.
Officials have described Kutz, an accountant who owned a financial planning firm, as having been an innocent bystander in a "random" shooting. There were "no ties" between the victim and the gunmen, Poughkeepsie Police Chief Joseph Cavaliere told reporters during a news conference last week.
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"The suspect did not know the victim," Cavaliere went on. "This, we believe, was a random act."
Law enforcement in the nearby city of Poughkeepsie, which is separate from the town, have accused Johnson of being present at a previous homicide, on Aug. 9, involving a man named Darren Villani. For months, Police had been seeking to question Johnson in connection with the murder.