CARROLL - The four men apprehended in connection to the home invasion and double homicide in the town of Carroll were formally charged with two counts each of felony second-degree murder Thursday night in town court.
Ricky L. Knickerbocker, 18; Joshua A. McCormick, 21; and Steven W. Todd, 18, all of Elmira; and Davide Coggins, 34, no address given, made their initial court appearance in front of the Hon. Willard W. Cass, town justice.
The four suspects have been linked to the murders of Gordon Skinner, 66, and Joyce Skinner, 59. The married couple were found dead inside their burning 232 Wheeler Hill Road residence by firefighters.
Following a brief manhunt, the men were taken into custody in Elmira and brought back to Mayville.
Coggins was appointed Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone as counsel.
According to state prison records, Coggins was released from state prison on March 15 after a 5-year sentence for second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Coggins also served time for first-degree sodomy and attempted promotion of prison contraband. He was released in 2005.
Pictured from left are Ricky L. Knickerbocker, Steven W. Todd, Joshua A. McCormick, and Davide Coggins awaiting their initial court appearance in Carroll Court on Thursday night. All four men were formally charged with felony second-degree murder for their role in the deaths of Gordon and Joyce Skinner.
P-J photos by Eric Tichy
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace speaks as District Attorney David Foley listens in during a press conference Thursday.
Todd was appointed attorney Lyle Hajdu by Cass; Knickerbocker was appointed attorney Avery Olson; and McCormick was appointed attorney Craig Jackson.
All four suspects will be back in Carroll Court at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 25 for a preliminary hearing. They currently are being held at Chautauqua County Jail.
More than four dozen residents gathered outside the town court on Thursday night, many of whom jeered the suspects as they were escorted into sheriff's vehicles.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace and District Attorney David Foley announced the apprehension of the four men in front of a packed press conference in Mayville earlier on Thursday. The arrests come less than 24 hours after the sheriff's office was alerted to a possible homicide.
Firefighters were dispatched around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to a report of a fire at the Wheeler Hill Road residence. The bodies were found by first responders.
Authorities were notified shortly thereafter to be on the lookout for a tan-colored 2003 Pontiac Grand Am; its occupants were considered armed and dangerous.
Gerace struggled to describe the crime scene.
"I will say in 34 years of law enforcement, this is one of the most disturbing and troubling incidents that I have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with," he said.
"We are very certain that this was a home invasion and ended up in the deaths of these two innocent victims."
No motive or cause of deaths were identified, although Gerace confirmed no firearms were used in the homicides.
Autopsies on the bodies were performed Thursday morning at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. County officials were not given a preliminary report.
Gerace said the Sheriff's Office was assisted by State Police, Carroll police and authorities in Chemung County.