Swanton found guilty of murder, assault in Old Forge shootings

A jury found 44-year-old Stephen E. Swanton guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday, after he shot a man dead outside his seasonal home in Old Forge in September 2020.

Posted: Sep 22, 2021 3:04 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2021 5:31 PM

HERKIMER, N.Y. – A jury found 44-year-old Stephen E. Swanton guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday, after he shot a man dead outside his seasonal home in Old Forge in September 2020. 

The night of Sept. 5, 2020, Swanton, who is from Rochester, shot two men who had come to his home on Dan-Bar Acres Road to speak with him following an argument at a nearby house party earlier in the day.

Scott Krempler, 50, of Putnam County, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim, 55-year-old William Robertello, of Oriskany, was hospitalized with injuries but survived.

The jury also found Swanton guilty of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree criminal use of a firearm.

Swanton was facing second-degree attempted murder as well, but was found not guilty on that charge.

Swanton will be sentenced at a later date.

Town of Webb Police Chief Ronald Johnston released the following statement after the guilty verdict was announced:

"As the police chief for the Town of Webb I would like to publicly state that I am overall satisfied and respect the decision made today by a Herkimer County jury. This homicide case was from last September 2020 and occurred on Dan Bar acres road just outside Old Forge.

"In some small way I hope this will bring some closure to the survivors and victims of this awful and senseless act of violence that occurred. We must first never forget victim Scott Krempler who was a 9/11 hero with the City of New York Fire Department, but more importantly a husband and father to a loving family. The sole survivor William (Bill) Robertello along with his family continue to be in our prayers as he faces more surgeries and recovery after being shot in the arms and hip.

"I would like to thank Herkimer County District Attorney Jeff Carpenter who masterfully presented the evidence and testimony which resulted in this outcome at trial. My staff at the Town of Webb Police Department deserves recognition for an excellent response and handling of the scene on the night of the incident along with months of preparation and hearings threrafter. As police chief I would also like to thank the New York State Police Major Crimes Unit, Forensic Investigation Unit and countless investigators that worked tirelessly to bring all the components of this investigation to a successful conclusion.

"Lastly I am confident that our great Old Forge community that I am so proud to be a member of will support these families in the future."

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