Phoenix Man Sentenced 3-9 Years in Prison for Manslaughter

Markee L. Cathcart

Markee L. Cathcart

OSWEGO, NY – The Phoenix man responsible for fatally stabbing Fulton man, Sean D. Leonard, 23 in October was sentenced today (June 28) to serve three to nine years in prison.

Markee L. Cathcart, 20 of Phoenix had previously submitted a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as part of a plea deal proposing a sentence certain.

Markee L. Cathcart
Markee L. Cathcart

The charge imposed is result of one fatal stab wound to the chest of the victim after an argument outside a party at a residence in Hannibal escalated into a physical altercation where Cathcart then opened a folding knife he had shown off to friends earlier in the night on October 24, 2015.

Further investigation showed that Leonard was unarmed during the altercation which negated the intended argument of self defense as Cathcart had immediately questioned to first responding authorities.

Instead, as promised by the plea agreement, Cathcart was sentenced by Oswego County Court Judge Donald Todd to a sentence certain of three years minimum to nine years maximum in state prison and more than $8,000 in restitution.

Due to the nature of the agreement, Cathcart is able to serve no less than three years and no more than nine years without the opportunity for an appeal at any point.

At the end of three years incarceration, Cathcart is able to appear before the parole board to consider his release.

Judge Todd made clear that the plea agreement was based upon recommendation by the People, as represented at sentencing by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bell despite not being supported entirely by the victim’s family.

“Nine years is not enough,” David Leonard, the victim’s father, said to the courtroom. “Not even close. Sean is dead forever.”

Leonard, 78 explained that as Sean was an only child to himself and his wife, Gail Leonard, 63, there was no chance of the two having another child or ever having any grandchildren.

“There is no amount of prison time that is going to be satisfactory in this case,” Bell said.

“Sean was a young man that had his whole life ahead of him that was tragically cut short by the defendant’s actions,” he said.

He added that the most troublesome part is that the death was a “senseless” one, as it is believed to have been the result of a fight over “who was driving, or the value of a car at the party.”

Cathcart then addressed the court and the victim’s family that filled nearly half of the court room extending his apologies and asking to be understood, “I never meant to hurt Sean.”

“I have to wake up every day of my life knowing I am the reason Sean is dead,” he said.

He added that, “I am not proud” and “this is by no means easy for me,” although recognizing his pain is nowhere comparable to theirs.

Judge Todd spoke of Cathcart’s lengthy criminal record and noted that the fact that his grandmother really loved him was the only favorable thing he could find for Cathcart.

He was hopeful that a small token of closure would be available knowing that the sentence imposed was a sentence certain and with no appeal this was the final step in the sentencing although recognizing it was not sufficient for the Leonard family.

“You cost these fine folks their only child, the opportunity to ever hold and caress a grandchild,” he told Cathcart. “There is nothing this system can do to bring justice.”


  1. He isn’t a bad person, I understand you can’t bring Sean back and it sucks but markee will live with that everyday of his life. It’s not like he’s a straight murderer that went out of his way to continually stab sean… it was an accident. Everyone makes mistakes.

  2. the district attorney’s office offered this deal because they didn’t have enough proof the he’d be found guilty by a jury and for the publics sake they had to give him some sentence.
    I don’t know either family but I think it’s to much. Imagine for 1 minute your child was being beat by someone way bigger than him. He never wanted to kill anyone, he was protecting himself! Just the way the victim was by fighting , easily could had been markie who died from a punch from Sean!

  3. Lisa,really,3-9 for killing somebody is to much,what planet are you from.What story said the killer was being beat up by the sound like you know this killer,even though you say you don’t,defending a killer…Lisa,pls read the story again

  4. The DA represented the PEOPLE,that’s a joke,he didn’t represent the victim and his family,nor the PEOPLE,as with a lengthy police record he should be doing more time than that…

  5. This so called Judge seems to have a habit of giving light sentences to criminals. Look at the Dr. Roy rape case. Scriba Judge Adkins is the same way when it comes to setting low bail for sex offenders. Maybe it is about time someone made these Judges accountable for there actions. There is no Justice in our justice system in Oswego County. If I were a career criminal I would move to Oswego County so if I got caught doing anything I know I would only get a slap on the wrist. Lets roll out the welcome mat. Lisa, if it someone in your family that was murdered I bet you would be telling a different tale.

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