Middletown man pleads guilty to Wallkill mystery murder

Damante Stansberry, 23, is now facing 15 years to life in prison as part of a plea deal for the murder of 52-year-old Jeffrey Harris.

Blaise Gomez

Mar 30, 2023, 3:14 PM

Updated 426 days ago

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A Middletown man pleaded guilty Thursday in Orange County Court to a fatal stabbing at a home in the Town of Wallkill last October. 
Damante Stansberry, 23, is now facing 15 years to life in prison as part of a plea deal for the murder of 52-year-old Jeffrey Harris.
District Attorney Dave Hoovler is prosecuting the case and recommended 20 years to life, but the judge said he would consider the lesser sentence.
Hoovler would not comment on the victim’s relationship to the defendant or the motive. Details of the crime were not disclosed during court.
The district attorney's office said in a release late Thursday morning that the victim was stabbed multiple times while Harris repaired a fence in the backyard of his residence.
They said an investigation found Stansberry concealed a mask, rubber gloves, hooded jacket and a shoe that he had been wearing by stuffing them into a storm drain.
Town of Wallkill police investigated the incident along with state police and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.
Authorities provided limited information at the time of Stansberry's arrest for the fatal stabbing Oct. 30 on Brookline Avenue and did not specify how he knew Harris or what led to the slaying.
People who knew the victim tell News 12 that Harris was fearful of a neighbor who he had a long history of problems requiring police involvement and restraining orders. 
Authorities have confirmed that information to News 12, but no one else has been charged in connection to the crime. 


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