(Editor’s note: The following story contains disturbing accounts that may not be appropriate for some readers.)
According to police, Seth P. Lyons laid out for them a horrific sequence of events that began with a missing cell phone and ended with Anthony Garro Jr. beaten to death, stripped naked and left beneath a pile of brush.
Now, Lyons is facing a charge of second-degree murder in the slaying. Lyons alleged statements to police are laid out in a “Huntley notice” provided to defense counsel in the case. The document is mandated in any case where the defendant has made statements to police that are expected to be used at trial.
Lyons, 20, of Ulster Park was taken into custody around 11 a.m. on Nov. 29, about two hours after Garro’s body was discovered beneath the Elmendorf Street bridge, which spans a former railroad cut that is now the site of a to-be-constructed county-owned walking trail. Cops say Lyons was taken into custody after an officer sent to the neighborhood to review security camera footage spotted him in blood-spattered clothes. He was formally arrested and charged after making statements to police during questioning at Kingston Police headquarters on Garraghan Drive.
According to the Huntley notice, Lyons made his first statement to a KPD detective and a uniformed officer around 12:30 p.m. A few hours later, the document claims, Lyons told KPD Officer Adam Hotaling that he “had some things he wanted to talk about” but he wanted to speak outside. The rest of the document lays out what Lyons allegedly told Hotaling while standing outside police HQ.
Lyons allegedly told police that he had run into an old acquaintance on the night of Nov. 28. The pair had been smoking crack. Lyons said he grew annoyed after his friend declined to share his crack cocaine with him and then demanded some of his smaller stash in exchange for the use of his crack pipe. Later, Lyons reportedly told police, the pair encountered Garro, 49, under the bridge resting on an old couch that had been placed there previously. Garro was apparently living on the streets after being ejected from a local boarding house a few days previously for drinking. Later, as Lyons and his friend were walking up the railroad cut, Lyons realized he was missing his cell phone and surmised that he had left it on the couch. When he returned to the couch, Lyons allegedly told police he asked Garro if he had the phone. Not satisfied with his answer, Lyons allegedly demanded to search Garro’s pockets. Instead, according to the statement, Garro laid down on the couch and told Lyons that he was tired and to leave him alone.
At that point, Lyons allegedly told officers he began punching Garro. Lyons allegedly told cops that Garro rose from the couch, threw a single “weak” punch then lay back down. Lyons said he grew angrier as he yelled at Garro to get up and let him check his pockets while Garro was “pretending like he was sleeping.”
At one point during the assault, Lyons told police, Garro reached up and tried to touch his genitals. Lyons responded by smashing a bottle over Garro’s head, cutting his own finger in the process. After being struck with the bottle, Garro reportedly lay back down on the couch “whimpering” and refused Lyons’ demands that he get up. Lyons told cops that this behavior enraged him further and he began striking Garro with different objects including a brick, a tree stump, rocks and sticks. After the beating, believing that Garro was still just pretending to sleep, Lyons told police he dragged his victim off the couch and kicked him in the stomach repeatedly. He then positioned Garro’s mouth over a railroad tie and repeatedly stomped on his head.
Then, still believing his victim was playing possum, Lyons allegedly told police that he ripped Garro’s clothes off. Stripping Garro revealed what Lyons described as “buttons, plungers or some sort of medical device” on Garro’s chest. Lyons allegedly told police that, believing the device might be a “police bug” he ripped it off and stuffed it into Garro’s mouth. Finally, the statement reads, Lyons pulled some brush over Garro’s body and walked away. Lyons told Hotaling that he believed Garro was still alive when he left the scene.
Lyons allegedly told cops that after the assault he walked out of the railroad cut to Broadway where he ran into his friend from the previous night and had a verbal altercation. He then went to a nearby Sunoco station to wash up. Later, he allegedly told police, he walked to HealthAlliance Hospital’s Broadway Campus to seek treatment for his injured hand and to warm up and get a meal.
The Huntley report claims that after speaking to Hotaling outside, Lyons made another, recorded statement to Hotaling and Detective Tim Bowers inside KPD headquarters.
Attorney Bryan Rounds of the Kingston based firm Rounds and Rounds, Lyons’ defense attorney, on Wednesday afternoon dismissed the information provided in the Huntley notice as a one-sided and “cherry-picked version” of what Lyons supposedly told his interrogators. Rounds declined to discuss specifics of the case but, he said, the version of events in the Huntley document is at odds with other evidence in the case, including a full audio version of Lyons’ statement.
“This is not my client’s statement. This is the prosecution’s summary of part of what my client allegedly said to police,” said Rounds of the Huntley document. “We are confident that he will not be found guilty of murder and we have no intention of having him plead guilty to murder.”