Jason Wells’ sentencing set for Oct. 6

The former Fredonia man convicted of killing his neighbor will be handed his sentence on Oct. 6.

Jason Wells, 41, will stand before Chautauqua County Court Judge John T. Ward around 9:45 a.m. to learn his punishment for beating and stabbing Ruth Fisk, 81, to death on Feb. 4, 2010. A 12-member jury last month found Wells guilty of the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter after listening to 34 witnesses give their testimony over seven days of trial proceedings.

Wells faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison with five years of post-release supervision.

The jury of six men and six women, after nine-and-a-half hours of closed-door deliberations, had concluded that Wells experienced and acted upon an extreme emotional disturbance when he killed Fisk, a retired nurse, in his apartment at Fredonia’s One Temple Square complex. He had been indicted on a charge of second-degree murder.

“This was a troubling, difficult case for all involved,” defense attorney Lyle Hajdu previously said. “This was a senseless murder of an elderly woman by someone diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. We presented a psychiatric defense and the jury decided and agreed with the defense regarding extreme emotional disturbance, that it was paranoid delusions that drove Jason to kill.

“We’ve been wrestling with this case since 2010, and I believe Judge Ward provided for a fair trial and Mr. (David) Foley (county district attorney) proved the homicide.”

Ward had given Wells and Hajdu two weeks from the day of the verdict announcement to consider if they would like to make any post-decision motions, which is normal procedure. Those two weeks expired Monday.

Foley was unavailable for comment Monday.

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