'It's either them or me': Homeowner's attorney speaks out on Deerfield fatal shooting and Talerico family responds

Suspected intruders, Patricia Anne Talerico, age 57, and her nephew, 27-year-old Nicholas Talerico, died from gunshot wounds. Their family released a statement to News Channel 2 Wednesday evening.

Posted: May 29, 2019 12:15 PM
Updated: May 29, 2019 10:47 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- A very complex scenario involving two dead suspects, gun rights, and gun laws is unfolding after a Deerfield homeowner allegedly shot two intruders with an illegally-owned handgun Tuesday afternoon.

Suspected intruders, Patricia Anne Talerico, age 57, and her nephew, 27-year-old Nicholas Talerico, are dead from gunshot wounds.

The Walker Road homeowner, 64-year-old Ronald Stolarczyk, is charged with criminal possession of a firearm, a felony.

State police were back on the scene Wednesday, in protective clothing gathering evidence.

The homeowner right now is not charged in connection with the deaths of the two suspected intruders; just an illegal gun possession charge.

There is a lot of evidence, a lot of information for police to process and they're still gathering it, so this investigation is in the very early stages.

The Deerfield homeowner has retained attorney Mark Wolber, and Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says the homeowner has been cooperative and talking to investigators.

Right now, Stolarczyk is charged with felony gun possession because investigators believe he used his deceased father's gun, which he never registered to himself, to kill the two suspected intruders.

McNamara talked Reporter Joleen Ferris about duty to retreat, whether it applies here; whether it applies to unarmed suspects. And Stolarczyk's attorney shares what was going through his client's mind as he heard strangers talking in his home, getting closer and closer to him.

"At this point in time, we have no reason to believe they were armed, but under the law, Mr. Stolarczyk, the law doesn't require them to be armed for Mr. Stolarczyk to defend himself against a burglar,” said McNamara.

"He told me that when they were coming up the stairs, that as they approached him, that he was scared to death and he thought they were going to kill him. One of the troopers said, ‘did you see anything in their hands?’ He said, ‘I didn't look at their hands, I just saw them coming at me and I thought to myself, at that point, that it's either them or me,’ and he just started firing,” Wolber said.

Wolber was hoping his client would be released on his own recognizance at some point Wednesday. He says he will ask that the gun charge be dismissed in the interest of justice.

Stolarczyk appeared in Utica City Court Wednesday and is being held on $10,000 cash bail or $15,000 bond. He is scheduled in Deerfield Town Court Monday at 6 p.m. and will remain in custody through that appearance. 

The maximum sentence for what the homeowner is charged with is 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

The family of Patricia Anne and Nicholas Talerico released a statement to News Channel 2 Wednesday evening regarding what happened on Tuesday, "On May 28th our world was completely changed and will never be the same. We lost two wonderful people to gun violence. We are not sure why our Brother and Aunt were in Deerfield but we can say with certainty that they were not there to harm anyone.They were two amazing, caring, and loving people we truly believe they thought the house was unoccupied. They did not deserve to die!!! The police should have been called and their deaths could have been avoided. They are also victims & will deeply be missed!!"

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