A Kings Park man charged with killing his grandmother in a spat over what to watch on television will remain held without bail and under medical supervision, a Suffolk County judge decided Sunday.
Clarence Newcomb, 25, who spent Saturday undergoing a mental health evaluation at Stony Brook University Hospital, entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment hearing in Central Islip Sunday. Standing before Suffolk County District Court Judge Gigi Spellman, he wore a white medical gown and blue scrubs, with his left hand wrapped in bandages.
He is being charged with first-degree manslaughter and will receive further "medical attention and mental evaluation" at the county jail, said his attorney, Paul Barahal of Smithtown.
Prosecutors told the judge that Newcomb suffocated his grandmother Kathleen Newcomb, 82, after they argued over what television show they would watch Friday. According to prosecutors, Clarence placed his grandmother on the floor and then put his "knee on the small of her back . . . until she couldn't breathe."
Newcomb, weighs about 330 pounds, compared with the 115 pounds his grandmother weighed, according to prosecutors.
Suffolk police officials say Newcomb was raised by his grandmother, a widow, since he was a child and the two lived alone. Neighbors said Saturday that his father lives in Fort Lauderdale and his mother is a member of the Ute American Indian tribe in Utah.
Three of Newcomb's childhood friends also attended the hearing, saying the alleged crime was in stark contrast to the gregarious friend they grew up with, who doled out "big hugs."
"We know him as the nicest guy," said Sal LaRosa, 25. "He would give the best hugs. He would literally pick you up. He was literally the type of person that lit up a room."
LaRosa recalled that when he broke his leg in ninth grade, Newcomb carried him several blocks to a friend's house so they could call for help.
Police say Newcomb was being treated for migraines days before the killing, and friends and neighbors have said in recent days he complained about buzzing sounds that led him to take down the family's smoke detectors in an effort to silence the noise.
A follow-up court hearing is scheduled for Friday.
With Robert Brodsky