After less than two hours of deliberations, an Ulster County jury found Charles M. Burgher, 25, guilty of three counts of aggravated family offense.
On February 24, 2016, the Kingston Police Department responded to multiple calls reporting a woman screaming. The victim had tried to protect herself that morning by shutting herself inside her bathroom. According to police, the defendant broke down the bathroom door around her, then threatened and hit her with a metal pot until she was cornered in her bathroom, lying in a box of cat litter. The victim managed to secretly call the police. Simultaneously, a downstairs neighbor who had heard the victim screaming also called the police. Officers Michael Ryan, Christopher Spylios and Keith Pagan arrived on the scene within minutes of the phone calls and arrested the defendant.
According to Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright, aggravated family offense is a relatively new felony offense. The Legislature enacted the law in 2012 to address repeat domestic violence offenders who continue to commit misdemeanor offenses against their victims. Burgher had previously been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor in January of 2015 against a different victim. This prior conviction led to the charges of aggravated family offense.
Burgher will be sentenced on March 24 and faces up to two to four years in state prison for his convictions.