Michael Buck sentenced to 20 years in prison for brutally murdering father


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Michael Buck sits in Otsego County Court Monday, expressionless as the judge sentences him to 20 years in prison for killing his father, continuing to shoot him after he lay dead.

"He turned and fell and went face down onto the floor at the bottom of stairs and that's when the three shots were fired into the victim's back and they were close enough range where they left powder burns on his skin," said Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl.

The judge described 33-year-old Michael Buck as an excessive drinker who carried a pistol without a permit, the same gun he used to kill 64-year-old Joseph Buck back in September. Initially, Michael Buck was planning on withdrawing his guilty plea, but decided to halt that motion, facing sentencing for first-degree manslaughter instead.

"The outcome was an agreed upon sentence. It was negotiated between the district attorney and myself. We felt it was a fair resolution all the way around," said Thomas Hegeman, attorney for Michael Buck.

The father and son engaged in a shootout in the stairwell of their Middlefield home after an argument. Twenty-six shots were fired in all. Joseph Buck fired only once, hitting his son in the mouth. Michael Buck fired the rest, including 10 shots through the ceiling, narrowly missing his daughter who was sleeping on the couch.

"It woke her up, 45-caliber in a small house had to be loud and she came down and that's when she saw her grandfather laying on the floor in a pool of blood," said Muehl.

After Michael Buck was escorted from court, the district attorney said he would like to see him behind bars for a longer period of time, but is satisfied the outcome spared Buck's 11-year-old daughter from testifying in court.

"So if the family is happy and satisfied and I was able to prevent the granddaughter from testifying then I think justice was done," said Muehl.

Satisfied with the sentence, but far from healing. Michael Buck's mother didn't make an appearance in court.

"I can't imagine having your son kill your husband. So she's lost her husband and she's lost her son for all practical purposes and I don't know if there is any such thing as closure for her," said Muehl.

Michael Buck has the right to file an appeal but Muehl says if he does, the request will likely be denied.

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