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Murder Charge Sent To Grand Jury

FULTON, NY – The case against accused murderer Jay Barboni will take its next steps in an Oswego County grand jury room.

<p>Jay Barboni</p>
Jay Barboni

Barboni, 30, of Falcon Drive in Liverpool, was arrested Thursday and charged second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 15-month-old son, Nicholas Taylor. The toddler died Aug. 18 while in Barboni’s care.

During a preliminary hearing in Fulton City Court Tuesday, assistant district attorney Gregory Oakes submitted a report from Onondaga County Chief Medical Examiner Mary Jumbelic into evidence. In the report, Jumbelic wrote that the toddler died from extensive injuries, including abrasions and contusions, predominantly of the head, that were the result of “inflicted blunt trauma.”

The toddler sustained severe head trauma with a depressed fracture on the right side of the head, massive scalp hemorrhage, and damage to the brain, that was produced by a minimum of five impacts to the head, she said. None of the injuries were the accidental.

Defense attorney Amy Hallenbeck objected to the report, arguing that it was prepared as an attachment to the accusatory instrument against her client and was not the full autopsy report. Hallenbeck said that the DA’s office was “trying to avoid giving the defense any information” and said she has not received any of the supporting documentation referenced in the report.

Fulton City Court Judge Spencer Ludington overruled the defense’s objection and allowed the report.

Oakes subsequently called the child’s babysitter, Crystal R. Muraski, and Fulton Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Kinney to testify.

Muraski, 19, lives in the same apartment complex as the child’s mother. She watched Nicholas from 7:47 a.m. until just after 4:30 p.m., Aug. 18.

When the child arrived that morning, Muraski said she observed “a couple of bruises and scratches” on him, including a black eye, a bruise on the side of his face and scratches on his forehead. Nicholas ate breakfast and took a nap. When he woke up, Muraski testified that he played, watched movies with her daughter and ate lunch.

When Barboni came to her home to pick up the child, Muraski said Nicholas’ demeanor changed.

“Nick saw him walk up to my door and ran up to me crying,” Muraski said as she began to cry. She picked the toddler up.

“He would not let me go,” she said. When Barboni put out his arms to him, Muraski said the toddler “clutched harder” at her.

While Barboni carried Nicholas, Muraski walked with them and carried the child’s toys to his mother’s apartment. When she left the apartment, she said the toddler was standing by the couch crying.

Kinney testified that he met Barboni at approximately 9 p.m., Aug.18 at the Fulton police department. Barboni told the officer that when he brought the toddler home, he “didn’t appear right” and that “he looked pale,” Kinney said.

“He said when they got home, Nicholas threw up,” Kinney said. Barboni also told the officer that he did not see any marks or bruises on Nicholas. When the toddler started to rub his eyes, Barboni said he gave him a bottle and put him to bed in his crib at approximately 6 p.m.

“At 8 p.m., he went upstairs to check on Nicholas,” Kinney said. “He said he couldn’t tell if Nicholas was breathing.”

Barboni told Kinney that he didn’t pick the child up but that he held his hand toward the baby’s mouth and nose. He still couldn’t tell if he was breathing.

“He called Nicholas’ mother,” Kinney said.

“I asked him if he hurt Nicholas,” he said. “He said, ‘No, I didn’t do anything.’”

Hallenbeck did not present any witnesses to testify. She moved for a dismissal of the case based on insufficient evidence.

Hallenbeck she said while the burden of proof for a preliminary hearing is low, the people presented no evidence to suggest her client is guilty of causing the toddler’s death.

“Nicholas is deceased,” she said. “Beyond that, one person who had care and control of him for the entire day is saying nothing happened.” She added that Barboni’s mere presence at the time of the child’s death is “not even at a low standard sufficient” to prove he killed him.

Oakes maintained that Barboni admitted to being the only person in the apartment during the time that the child sustained the injuries that resulted in his death.

“How do we know this didn’t happen at 4:25, rather than 4:30,” Hallenbeck argued.

“I believe at this stage that the people have met their burden,” Ludington ruled. He transferred the case to superior court for action of the grand jury.

Barboni remains in custody at the Oswego County Correctional Facility without bail.