18-year-old Robert Clegg of Canandaigua has been charged with murder in the Sept. 30 death of 21-year-old Nicholas Bice, whose body was found in his apartment at Camelot Square
Robert J. Clegg of Canandaigua, the teen charged Monday with killing a 21-year-old Canandaigua man, was an honor roll student who graduated in June from Canandaigua Academy where he was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams.
Now, he faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole after being charged Monday with first-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 30 death of Nicholas R. Bice whose body was found in his Camelot Square apartment after Canandaigua firefighters had extinguished a blaze there.
“This is a terrible situation and our thoughts are with all the members of our Braves family as the legal system sorts out the sad details of this tragic event,” said Jamie Farr, superintendent of the Canandaigua City School District, from which Bice also graduated in 2014.
In addition to murder, Clegg, 18, is charged with two counts each of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery for allegedly entering Bice's apartment and threatening him with a baton type flashlight, forcibly stealing property from Bice and intentionally killing him.
In addition, he is charged with second-degree arson for allegedly setting fire in Bice's apartment; and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney James Ritts said Bice died from multiple blunt force trauma to the head.
Clegg was picked up the next day on the marijuana charge which his attorney, Robert Zimmerman of Shortsville, called a pretext, saying Clegg was not in possession of marijuana at the time.
Clegg was awaiting sentencing on a burglary charge he pleaded guilty to earlier this year in connection with an unlawful entry into a Farmington home. He had been released on his own recognizance when he allegedly entered Bice's apartment and killed him during the commission of the other alleged crimes.
Ritts presented the five-page indictment to Ontario County Court Judge William F. Kocher who asked about bail.
Ritts said it had been set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond in City Court on the marijuana charge and asked that Clegg be held without bail.
Ritts said during the investigation, it became clear Clegg had researched countries without extradition and as the case was being put together, that Clegg fled from police. He called Clegg a significant flight risk, which drew an objection from Zimmerman.
“I take issue with the statement he intended to flee,” Zimmerman said. “He did not intend to flee. He did not flee. He's been here since day one. He's gone nowhere since day one. There's no need to set bail any higher than what's already been set.”
“Murder one?” questioned Kocher.
“And he's been in jail since day one,” Ritts pointed out, also noting Clegg had not previously been charged with murder. “That's the one thing we've forgotten about. He was arrested the next day on a marijuana charge.”
Kocher interrupted and said Clegg would be remanded without bail which brought loud clapping from several people in the courtroom, including family and friends of Bice.
“Folks, folks, folks, folks,” Kocher called out. “This is an open proceeding, but you're not allowed to participate.”
Kocher scheduled motions for 10 a.m. March 2.
Clegg's grandparents and mother were also in the courtroom. Zimmerman said they would not comment.
Ritts arranged to meet with Bice's supporters in an upstairs conference room, saying he expected they would be very quiet until they don't have to be. He would not say what was stolen, noting it was not included in the indictment.
He said right now, Clegg is the only person charged in connection with the Bice homicide, but that lots of agencies are involved.
“We'll continue to follow up on leads and if people have information they want to share, they can contact the Canandaigua police or New York state police,” Ritts said.
He said the murder charge carries a potential sentence of life without parole and if convicted, the minimum sentence would be 20 years to life in prison. Also involved in the investigation were members of the Ontario County Sheriff's Department.
Clegg was 17 when he and two others were charged in the Farmington burglary.
Zimmerman said Clegg cooperated against his co-defendants and was to be adjudicated a youthful offender and serve parole. Sentencing is that case is still pending.
ORIGINAL: An 18-year-old Canandaigua teenager has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 30 death of 21-year-old Nicholas Bice, whose body was found in his apartment at Camelot Square where Canandaigua firefighters had just put out a fire.
Robert Clegg was named in an indictment presented in Ontario County Court by First Assistant District Attorney James Ritts.
In connection with the homicide, Robert Clegg is also charged with two counts each of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery; second-degree arson; third-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
Ritts said the weapon was a baton flashlight. He said Bice died of multiple blunt force trauma to the head.
Clegg was picked up on the marijuana charge Oct. 1 and has been in the Ontario County Jail since. He appeared Monday morning before Judge William Kocher, who ordered Clegg held without bail.
Clegg appeared with his attorney, Robert Zimmerman of Shortsville, who called the marijuana arrest a pretext to hold his client, saying Clegg was not in possession of marijuana at the time.
Clegg pleaded not guilty to all counts. In the courtroom were members of both families and several friends of Bice.