Groton Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Fatal Stabbing Case
A Groton man accused of stabbing another Groton man to death back in April of last year has plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter as part of a plea deal.
41-year-old Dana Houghtling of 734 W. Groton Road was in Tompkins County Court Monday, where he pled to the manslaughter charge. Tompkins County prosecutors said the plea offer was based on evidence of extreme emotional disturbance, which is a viable defense under state law.
As part of the plea deal Houghtling admitted that he fatally stabbed his estranged wife’s boyfriend 31-year-old Jeff West of 125 Old Peruville Road at a home in Lansing back on April 15th.
Court documents reveal that the fatal attack arose out of a failed marriage between Houghtling and his wife Amber Houghtling.
West and Amber Houghtling were romantically involved, prior to the stabbing Dana had beat his estranged wife which lead to a court order of protection out of Dryden town court.
The night of the attack Amber Houghtling and West went to Houghtling’s house to check on the welfare of the Houghtling’s 8-year-old daughter, the two men became involved in a fight there, and were eventually separated.
West and Amber Houghtling left the Groton home went to the home of a family friend in Lansing, a short time later Dana came barreling onto the property in his pickup truck and smashed into a car parked in the driveway. The car flipped over twice from the force, Dana exited the truck and came running at West with two large knives stabbing him repeatedly.
Witnesses’ say West attempted to retreat around the house and eventually locked himself in Amber Houghtling’s car, Dana smashed the passenger side window and stabbed West again.
Dana Houghtling eventually fled and later turned himself in to police.
Amber Houghtling drove West to the Groton Fire Department he was then taken to the Cortland Regional Medical Center and then to University Hospital in Syracuse; he died from his injuries the next day.
Back in May a Grand Jury handed up a 12 count indictment against Houghtaling including a charge of second degree murder, which carries a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Under the reduced charge Houghtling faces 5 five to 25 years in prison and 2½ years of post-release supervision. He’s due to be sentenced on March 15th, Houghtling is being held without bail.