Grand jury reduces charge against Phoenicia woman accused of helping husband commit suicide

Verraine and Asia (Facebook)

Verraine and Asia (Facebook)

An Ulster County grand jury filed an indictment on April 17, charging Solane Verraine of Phoenicia with manslaughter in the second degree in the death of her husband, John Owings, Jr., age 65, on November 19, 2016. The indictment charges Verraine, 63, with intentionally causing or aiding Owings to commit suicide. The deceased was a guitarist known locally as Johnny Asia. He was living with Verraine as her partner at the time of his death.

Verraine was originally charged with murder, but District Attorney Holley Carnright said the investigation of the case led his department to switch to the lesser charge of manslaughter. In New York State, voluntary manslaughter carries a penalty of five to 25 years in prison. “As in many cases,” said Carnright, “the case is not over upon arrest. A lot of information came forward in our investigation that led us to believe manslaughter was the appropriate charge, and the grand jury agreed.” However, he was not at liberty to disclose details of the investigation. Verraine has been held without bail at the county jail since Owings’ death. She will be arraigned in the next week, according to DA Carnright, at which time her attorney can make a bail application.

The defendant is represented by Kevin Harp of the firm of Mainetti, Mainetti and O’Connor. The case is being prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael J. Kavanagh. Carnright does not expect the case to go to trial before the fall of this year.v