Murder charges dropped against Oneonta man


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Otsego County District Attorney said he could not prove that William Sprague III killed Sonya Ridge.

According to John Muehl, the medical examiner's official cause of death was an aneurysm. Muehl says on that November night Ridge and Sprague left a downtown Oneonta bar together and drove to his apartment.

Muehl says his best theory is Ridges' aneurysm "popped" shortly after they arrived. The DA says it was explained to him that when the aneurysm pops, it is excruciating pain.

He figures Ridge fell down and that's how the bruises got on her body.

Muehl says William Sprague's blood alcohol content was "around 3.0" that night and he could not remember what happened.

It was a witness who spotted Sprague and his friend carrying the deceased Ridge into his apartment.

A few days after he was charged, the DA let Sprague go from jail but the charge still stuck.

That was based on the medical examiners ruling that Ridge died of natural causes.

"By dropping the charges I am saying there is no way I can prove, one way or another, whether he had anything to do with her death." said John Muehl, Otsego County District Attorney. "He may have, I couldn't prove he did. He very likely didn't have. I can't say either way."

"I have no proof of what did really happen. The only two that know what really happened are Mr. Sprague and the deceased, and she cant tell us." Muehl added.

Sprague's Attorney, Bill Schebaum, says he has known his client for quite a while, he knew he was not a murderer.

"Certainly he was relieved," said Schebaum referring to telling Sprague the news.

"I don't know that he was excited, I think he was more relieved than anything else. He grateful to know the justice system worked the way it should have."

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