The son of slaying suspect Eugene Palmer believes his father -- who has been missing since he allegedly killed his daughter-in-law last month -- is no longer alive.
"I believe he's dead, to be quite honest with you," John Palmer told News12 outside the Rockland County Courthouse Thursday morning.
John Palmer, 39, had a 10 a.m. court appearance to face domestic violence charges from August brought on by his now-deceased wife, Tammy Palmer, also 39. The hearing was postponed until Nov. 1.
On Aug. 15, a fight between the couple at their home escalated into a physical altercation, according to court documents. John Palmer is accused of pushing his wife, causing her to fall backward into a bedroom door frame and causing an abrasion to her back. John Palmer has been charged with third-degree misdemeanor assault in that incident.
The next day, John Palmer came back to the Stony Point house on Willow Grove Road, in violation of an order of protection, and attempted to remove property, the criminal complaint states.
John Palmer then allegedly went into his wife's 1990 Ford Explorer, snapped off the gear shifter and threw it onto the passenger seat. He was charged with felony third-degree criminal mischief and first-degree criminal contempt.
"I did nothing wrong, plain and simple," John Palmer told News12 after the hearing was postponed. "All I know: I am an innocent man who has done nothing."
Thomas Zugibe, Rockland County's district attorney, said that although Tammy Palmer is dead, charges are still proceeding.
"The ability to proceed on a case is not dependent on whether or not the victim is still alive," Zugibe said. "We practice evidence-based prosecution, with the biggest obstacle in domestic violence cases is that the victim, after being assaulted or had other crimes committed against them, refuses to cooperate."
Tammy Palmer's family believes she was killed because she refused to drop the charges against her husband, which caused tension between her and her father-in-law. She was killed Sept. 24 at the Stony Point home on Eugene Palmer's property where she had been living with her two children.
Tammy Palmer's mother, Violet Pannirello, declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.
Extensive searches have been conducted throughout Harriman State Park -- where Eugene Palmer, 73, is believed to have been hiding out.
Teams of officers and cadaver dogs scoured the park Wednesday after receiving a tip from a hiker that he noticed a "strange odor" on a trail, but nothing was found.
Police did not resume searches in the park Thursday.