UTICA – The man accused of murdering Thomas Shepherd in Rome this summer turned down a plea deal in Oneida County Court this morning.
Robert Coffin, 35, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He’s accused of shooting 25-year-old Thomas Shepherd Jr. to death outside of Sammy G’s bar on August 19. Authorities say that on that night, Coffin and Shepherd were involved in a dispute in the parking lot of Sammy G’s bar before Coffin shot Shepherd twice in the head, then fled the scene.
Coffin eluded police for nearly two weeks before being found in Las Vegas, and he was brought back to Oneida County and into Rome police custody last month.
In Oneida County Court today, Coffin turned down a plea deal that would have given him 23 years to life in state prison for pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
“I’m not pleading guilty to murder,” Coffin said. “It’s something I’m not guilty of.”
Coffin will now be headed to trial, and it's unknown at this time when that will start.