MALONE — A Tupper Lake woman on Friday pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Franklin County Court.
Alexa J. Gallagher, 26, appeared before Franklin County Court Judge Craig P. Carriero and pleaded guilty to the sole count of the indictment she was facing, according to a prepared statement from the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office.
Gallager’s plea follows an incident in the village of Tupper Lake on July 28, 2022, when Gallagher intentionally caused the death of her mother, Melissa Guisewhite, 51, by stabbing her with a knife, according to the release.
“I extend my gratitude to all law enforcement agencies that swiftly responded to this horrific incident on July 28, 2022,” Franklin County District Attorney Elizabeth Crawford said in the release. “Their dedication to the safety of our communities and thorough investigation resulted in the defendant pleading guilty to murder as charged. Franklin County is a safer place today.”
Gallagher will be sentenced at 9:15 a.m. May 30, the release said.
Reached for comment Friday afternoon, Crawford said a guilty plea to second-degree murder, a Class A felony, typically carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
“However, I have committed to ask for 19 to life,” Crawford said. “We discussed it with the family and the family was happy with that as an outcome and Ms. Gallagher does not have any priors. Given the horrific nature of the crime, I think 19 to life is appropriate.”
Crawford said the Tupper Lake Police Department, state police, and state forest rangers assisted as part of the investigation.
“There were a lot of law enforcement agencies right at the very beginning because they had to look for her before she (Gallagher) was located,” Crawford said. “Everybody basically dropped what they were doing and went and assisted and I am very appreciative of that.”
Gallagher was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in October, at which time she pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
Gallagher was indicted on the sole count she was facing on Oct. 27 and arraigned in Franklin County Court on Nov. 10, when she was held in custody without bail in the Franklin County Jail.
In July, law enforcement officers found Ms. Guisewhite dead at a Lakeview Avenue home, and charged Gallagher with second-degree murder after her arrest.
Second-degree murder is defined under state law as causing the death of another person with intent to do so.
State police said Gallagher fled on foot after the homicide and was found by state police and DEC forest rangers in an unoccupied neighboring residence, where she was taken into custody and transported to the state police’s Tupper Lake barracks for questioning.
Dr. Michael Sikirica completed an autopsy of Ms. Guisewhite at Glens Falls Hospital in Warren County, determining the victim’s cause of death to be injuries resulting from a stab wound, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.
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