As Robert Clegg was sentenced to 35-years for the murder of Nicholas Bice, defense and prosecution agreed that drugs triggered the fatal sequence of events.
ONTARIO COUNTY — The southern courtroom of the Ontario County Courthouse was filled with sadness as Robert Clegg, 19, was sentenced for the brutal murder of Nicholas Bice.
On Wednesday Ontario County Court Judge William Kocher sentenced Clegg to 35-years plus an additional 5-years of post release supervision for the murder of Bice, who was discovered beaten and burned to death at the Camelot Square apartments in Canandaigua back in September.
"Nick is dead and his last vision was of the man who beat him to death and burned his body," said James Ritts, Ontario County District Attorney prior to sentencing. "There's never been an apology and if he (Clegg) utters these words, they will ring hollow."
The crime dates back to Sept. 30 when firefighters responded to a fire and discovered Bice’s body. Clegg beat Bice to death with a baton-type flashlight and then set the apartment ablaze to cover his tracks.
According to Ritts, Clegg killed Bice for a quarter pound of weed and $2,400. Broken down that means Clegg's beef with Bice equates to $80 a year for every one of his 30 years he's going to spend in prison.
Prior to the sentencing, Bice's father and girlfriend both spoke during victim impact statements.
"You killed my son," said Rodney Bice, who also thanked law enforcement for their hard work on the case. "Thirty years from now I will still be looking for justice."
"He was my everything," said Alysa Kimbal, Bice's girlfriend who lived with him in the burned out apartment. "You get no forgiveness from me and you better hope god forgives you."
Ritts stated that he has known the defendant and his grandfather for years and sensed a difference in him when had had run into Clegg at Patty's Place a few weeks prior to the murder.
"Something changed in this defendant," said Ritts."This defendant violently and viciously ended a life."
In an interview prior to sentencing Ritts stated that the marijuana drug dealing business is not harmless.
"It's a huge cash flow business, it's high risk - high reward," said Ritts. "When you have a high cash business it's dangerous. Nick had been robbed a number of times."
Nick was selling Marijuana, but he was going to school and trying to advance his life.
"Nick made some bad choice but they didn't deserve his death," said Ritts.
In Ritts' eyes it was a different story for Clegg.
"The defendant chose drugs over incredible opportunities," said Ritts.
Robert Zimmerman, Clegg's defense attorney agreed that the root of this was drugs.
"This is a direct result of drugs," said Zimmerman. "Something here went horribly, horribly, wrong."
Prior to sentencing Clegg expressed regret.
"I will never ask for forgiveness because I don't deserve it," said Clegg to the court and family members present during sentencing. "I will live with this the rest of my life as well as they will."