Trial delayed for Massena man accused of killing roommate
By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- The murder trial of a Massena man accused of killing his roommate has been pushed back to Jan. 22.
Keith Bjork, 51, is charged with second-degree murder, accused of beating to death his roommate Demar Buckner on the night of Oct. 27, 2016 at the apartment they shared at 192 Center St.The St. Lawrence County Court Clerk’s office said Bjork’s attorney, Richard V. Manning of Parishville, has requested another councilor to assist him at trial, so attorney Daniel Ramsey has been added to the defense, the court clerk’s office said.
In an October phone interview, Manning alleged that Bjork’s constitutional rights were violated following his arrest.
Manning says Massena police officers violated Bjork’s constitutional rights.
He said he has video of Bjork at the Massena police station yelling for a lawyer, but says officers claim they never heard him ask for one.
“I believe Mr. Bjork invoked his right to council before he spoke to police and they violated his constitutional rights by continuing to speak with him,” Manning said in October. “You’re supposed to be advised of your Miranda rights to be silent and have a lawyer … there’s no doubt he was in custody, no doubt he said repeatedly that ‘I want a lawyer’ and those cops did not pay attention to that.
“We have constitutional rights that should be honored by any authority that arrests you.”
The night that Bjork was arrested, Chief Adam Love at the time said he was sent to the county jail in lieu of $100,000 bail for violating his probation because officers could smell alcohol on his breath.
Manning claimed that amounts to holding him without charges, since a court had not filed a petition for a probation violation.
“There’s no question there was a violation,” Manning said earlier in the fall, but argued Bjork could have been released “unless there’s a petition filed where a court says ‘arrest this man.’”
The case has been assigned to special prosecutor Gary Miles, said Josh Haberkornhalm, a St. Lawrence County assistant district attorney.
The ADA said during a suppression hearing, Bjork revealed that District Attorney Mary Rain had represented him in a felony criminal contempt case in 2010, when she was a defense attorney.
“If I had to cross examine him on prior conduct my boss had represented him on, that would create and appearance we had used information gleaned from his prior representation … a not good situation,” Haberkornhalm said during an Oct. 4 phone interview. “It’s just one of those things that came to light, no misconduct or anything. It’s just she happened to represent him … and it came out at the hearing.”