By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
FONDA — The pair of teens who were formally charged with double murder two weeks ago pleaded not guilty during their respective arraignments in Montgomery County Court Thursday.
Sixteen-year-old Anthony Brasmeister, of Belfance Road, town of Amsterdam, and 15-year-old Matthew C. Phelps, of Snooks Corners Road, town of Florida, will be tried in June on the eight-count indictment handed up by a grand jury Dec. 20. They're each accused of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
More than 30 family members and friends attended Thursday's proceeding on behalf of the victims — 13-year-old Jonathan DeJesus and 16-year-old Paul Damphier, both of Amsterdam. They were shot and killed in a soybean field near Phelps' home in July; their bodies not found until 10 days later.
"They can't stand here to defend themselves, so we have to stand here for them," said DeJesus' aunt, Laura Lewis of Amsterdam. "We have to stand behind Jonathan and Pauly's memory."
Fulton County Court Judge Polly Hoye presides over the case, as Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena and county Surrogate Court Judge Guy Tomlinson have recused themselves.
For more on this story, check Friday's edition, and www.recordernews.com.