Accused killer rejects plea offer

Prosecutors rebuff defendant’s counter offer for significantly lighter prison sentence


Accused killer Wilfredo Cotto Jr. attempted to haggle on his plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office in County Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors declined to take him up on his much lighter prison sentence idea.

Cotto, 40, of Rome, was offered by the DA’s Office a sentence of 23 years to life in state prison if he pleaded guilty to the Nov. 15 shooting death of Benjamin J. Davis at the Red Carpet Inn on Lawrence Street. Cotto faces 25 years to life if he takes his case to trial and is convicted by a jury.

Cotto counter-offered with 20 years in prison for the homicide, dropping the life sentence. Prosecutors did not take Cotto up on his lesser offer, so Cotto rejected their offer as well and asked to take the case to trial.

“I’m not doing life in prison,” Cotto said Wednesday morning. He is being held at the county jail and appeared in court virtually.

“I’ll never come home. What more do you want from me?”

Cotto noted that he’s already served multiple prison sentences over the past 20 years for other crimes.

The state police and prosecutors have not released details about the motivation for the shooting of Benjamin Davis. Cotto made comments in court on Thursday alluding to the idea that the shooting may have been some kind of payback for a different shooting involving Cotto’s son. Cotto’s defense attorney, Kurt Schultz, convinced Cotto to stop talking.

Since no plea deal was reached, Cotto’s case was adjourned for motion argument to July 7. No trial date has been set.

Cotto is charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree possession of a weapon.

According to state prison records, Cotto has served four separate prison sentences in the past 20 years. Cotto served from April 2002 to October 2004 for burglary and grand larceny out of Madison County.

Cotto served between August 2005 and April 2018 on charges of robbery and burglary out of Oneida County. Cotto also served simultaneously from March 2016 to April 2018 on a charge of burglary out of Madison County.

Most recently, according to state records, Cotto served from March 2019 until he was released on parole on June 26, 2020 on a charge of grand larceny.

Cotto also currently has a separate, unrelated grand larceny case in court out of New Hartford.


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