BATH | Marcus Blandford, the “lookout” in the killing of Kelley Clayton, will serve at least three years in prison for his role in the September 2015 murder.
Blandford was sentenced Monday to three to six years by Steuben County Judge Peter Bradstreet for one count of second-degree manslaughter.
On the night of the killing, Blandford agreed to ride along with hired killer Michael Beard in order to serve as a lookout while Beard entered the Clayton residence.
Blandford has said he was told Beard planned to set fire to the residence, though he also said Beard told him he “may have to kill a b---h” in the process.
“Normally I’d be asking for substantially more time in a case like this,” said Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore.
Wetmore said Blandford was to some degree “a tragic figure” in that he’s continually made poor choices throughout his life as a result of his problems with drugs and alcohol -- and his own failure to address those problems.
“He still is indeed guilty” for his involvement in the killing, Wetmore added.
Blandford’s defense attorney, Chris Tunney, echoed some of the same sentiments.
“He has owned up to his involvement in this tragedy,” Tunney told the court.
Blandford also made a short statement to the court.
“I just want to apologize to Kelley’s family for their loss,” he said. “If I could do it all over, I never would have gotten in that car.”
None of the victim’s family appeared to be present in court for the sentencing.
Blandford agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify in the case against now-convicted murderer Thomas Clayton in exchange for a reduction in the charges against him.
He was initially charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary and one count of conspiracy.
The three- to six-year sentence means Blandford could be eligible for parole in as little as three years.
Sentencing for the convicted mastermind of the killing, Thomas Clayton, is set for Monday.