OSWEGO, NY – Joyce Malone will spend the next 10 years behind bars.
The Oswego Town woman was sentenced this morning (April 12) in Oswego County Court.
Oswego County Judge Walt Hafner also sentenced her to five years of probation upon her release from state prison.
Malone, 70, of Tug Hill Road in Oswego Town, was convicted in January of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of her husband, Ralph.
She had originally been charged with murder. However, the jury agreed with the defense’s claim that she suffered extreme emotional disturbance the day of the shooting, and so convicted her of the lesser crime.
She appeared in court today in a wheelchair, having just been released from Oswego Hospital on Monday.
She waved to her daughters and sister as she was wheeled away to begin serving her sentence. Her son sat alone in the back of the room on the opposite side.
Malone had her sentencing postponed on April 8, coming on the heels of a postponement last month.
In March, her lawyer, Jim Eby, told the court she had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and was undergoing treatment. To stop them at that time, Eby said, “would be life-threatening.”
Last week, Eby, told Oswego County Court Judge Walt Hafner that his client had been hospitalized on Monday. She is hooked up to IVs in Oswego Hospital, he said. Her blood pressure dropped to 75 over 45 and she was dehydrated, he added.
Assistant District Attorney Gregory Oakes agreed Malone was too ill to appear in court and said he was agreeable to adjourning the sentencing until April 12.
After the jury returned its verdict in January, Eby asked his client to get a complete health examination.
In the course of that it was revealed that she has cancer in the lungs, it has moved into the lymph nodes and her brain.
The cancer, doctors said, was “extremely aggressive,” Eby said.
She recently completed her first round of chemo and radiation therapy and is scheduled to start her second round of chemo treatments at 10 a.m. today (April 12), at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, according to Eby.
She had remained free on a $100,000 bail bond.
Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd, a friend of the Malone family, was among the first members of law enforcement on the scene last spring.
“I know these people, I know each of them, I knew the family. It’s very, very sad. Emotionally it’s traumatic for the whole family,” he said outside the courtroom this morning.
The case was hard on him, he admitted.
His department had a job to do, the defense and the DA had a job to do as well, he noted.
“It is a tragic situation, all the way around. There is no win, everything here is a loss. Certainly with this determinant sentence, she will never serve it all. She is an extremely ill woman,” he said. “The family has suffered through this for the past year. They’ve lost a father, they’ve lost a mother. What else is there to say other than the fact that this is an extremely emotional and sad case.”
It probably doesn’t really matter what the sentence was, he added.
“Whether it was five or 25 (years), I don’t think that is going to be an issue,” he said. “You have a father that is passed and a mother that will soon be. It is terribly hard for everybody involved.
When he first interviewed her following the shooting, she was “an extremely healthy woman. For a woman her age, she was remarkable in the fact that the gardening and the home they kept out there and everything and no she is an extremely sick victim,” the sheriff said. “At this point in time it looks like she’ll lose her life shortly. So, how does anybody win?”
Eby said he will be seeking a stay of the sentence. That will go before the Appellate Division in Rochester.