Leach Sentenced in Connection to Son's Death; Family Reacts

By Julia Rose

Published 08/19 2014 06:23PM

Updated 08/19 2014 06:25PM

The former Rochester cop who shot and killed his son in Old Forge two years ago was sentenced Tuesday in Herkimer County Court. Michael Leach faces five years probation, the first six months of which he will serve in Herkimer County Jail.

It was an emotional day in Herkimer County Court on Monday. Leach received his agreed-upon sentence of five years probation. Friends and family attended the sentencing and say it's been a long and difficult two years since the homicide.

"My son and I were extremely close, I know this has been very difficult for the family and it's unfortunate that it's come to this, we will get through it,” said Linda Leach, mother of victim Matthew Leach.

Linda has been divorced from Michael for 14 years but says the family stands behind him as she believes her son would have wanted.

"He was a very loving son and his family supports mike 110 percent,” says Linda Leach.

Michael Leach is a retired Rochester police captain. He shot and killed his 37 year old son Matthew on July 21, 2012. It happened in their room at the Clarks Beach Motel.

Leach was originally charged with intentional second degree murder but then claimed he thought his son was an intruder and fatally shot him out of self-defense. His attorney says the fateful night involved the whole family.

"Not only was my client involved, but my clients two brothers saw their nephew die, one of them went to the hospital with him,” said defense attorney Joseph Damelio.

Leach underwent psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and a sleeping disorder, supporting his claims that he was not aware that it was his son walking through the motel room door.

As he was taken into custody and the case came to a close, Linda Leach and her family says there will always be a hole in their hearts.

"It’ll never bring closure, no,” says Linda Leach.

Although Matthew’s mother supports Leach, Matthew’s wife does not. The Herkimer County District Attorney read a statement from her in court attacking Leach for what he did to her late husband.

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