Seth Lyons has been convicted of murder for the Nov. 29, 2017 beating death of Anthony Garro beneath the Elmendorf Street bridge in Midtown Kingston. Following a trial before County Court Judge Donald Williams the six-man, six-woman jury on September 27 returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder. Lyons faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 3.
Lyons, 20, brutally bludgeoned Garro, 49 as Garro lay on a sofa beneath the Elmendorf Street bridge spanning the former Catskill Mountain Railroad right of way, long a hangout for homeless and people with addiction problems. Lyons would later tell police that he had been up smoking crack cocaine for two days when he ran into Garro under the bridge. Suspecting Garro had stolen his cell phone, Lyons demanded to search his pockets. When Garro refused, Lyons told police he began beating him — first with his fists, then a beer bottle, then, in an escalating fury, bricks, tree limbs, rocks and finally a 54-pound boulder. A forensic pathologist told jurors that Garro suffered at least 14 separate blows to the head which caused overlapping skull fractures. After the beating, Lyons admitted that he stripped Garro and threw a discarded Christmas tree on top of the body.
Garro’s body was discovered around 8 a.m. the next morning. Lyons was taken into custody about two hours later after he walked into a deli 100 yards from the crime scene still wearing clothes soaked in Garro’s blood. A Kingston cop reviewing security camera footage in the deli spotted Lyons’ bloody clothing and held him for questioning. Over the course of a seven-hour interrogation by KPD detectives, Lyons admitted beating Garro but told officers he believed his victim was still alive when he left the scene. Lyons told cops that he became enraged after he began beating Garro and Garro responded by trying to grab his genitals.
At trial, defense attorney Bryan Rounds argued that a toxic brew of lack of sleep, drugs and a history of sexual abuse and mental illness caused Lyons to suffer an “extreme emotional disturbance” at the time of the attack. Rounds also argued that his client only intended to hurt, not kill, Garro.
If jurors had bought the extreme emotional disturbance defense, the second-degree murder charge would have been reduced to first-degree manslaughter with a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.