Perry town board member, retired deputy charged with shooting, killing man
Perry, N.Y. - A retired sheriff's deputy and current Town Board member is charged with second degree murder in the death of a Perry man.
Joe Mlyniec was arrested for the shooting death of Robert Irvine III Wednesday.
Deputies responded to Mlyniec's home on Rt. 246 Wednesday afternoon, where a crime reconstruction team spent most of the night investigating.
Mlyniec is a retired deputy and a Town Board member in Perry. Mlyniec retired from the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office after more than 20 years in 2008. He served as a part-time deputy from 2009-2013.
Jim Brick is Mlyniec's friend, neighbor, co-worker and the Perry Town Supervisor. He says he has known Mlyniec for more than 40 years.
"He is a very respected member of our community," said Brick. "Being well-known in the community, and having an event like this happen, is very unfortunate."
Brick said he was stunned at the news of Mlyniec's arrest for murder.
"It's very upsetting," said Brick. "Something must have happened. It's up to the investigation to lead into that."
Brick said Mlyniec often allowed people to help out on the farm he owned. But Brick said he never knew who Irvine was.
"He would have people on the farm. He had done that for years. We always called them 'Joe's kids,'" said Brick.
Police say Mlyniec called police to report the incident. When officers arrived at his house, Irvine was found to have been shot with a handgun in his driveway.
Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen said Mlyniec and Irvine were not strangers, describing them as ‘acquaintances.’ The D.A.'s Office will continue to look at their relationship, O'Geen said.
"They are not strangers to each other, but I know the investigators are out today and in the days ahead to learn more about this relationship," said O'Geen.
Kim Beagle, who has known both men for several years, said Irvine was the kind of man who would help anyone he could.
"Always a stand-up kind of person," she said.
She said it was Mlyniec who first introduced her to Irvine nearly 10 years ago.
"I thought that there must have been circumstances," she said. "Something that isn't cut-and-dry. He did not do this maliciously."
She's questioning what could have led up to all of this.
"Joe would joke about being able to take Robbie under his wing and giving him help when no one else was there for him," she said. "Joe was there for him."
She says Mlyniec gave Irvine a place to live when he was homeless years ago. Most recently, Irvine was renting out one of Mlyniec's properties, where he was currently staying.
"I believe Joe was destroyed over this, because I cannot see him intentionally hurting someone, let alone someone he took in, who he considered part of him," said Beagle.
Sheriff Gregory Rudolph says the investigation will last weeks, and likely months.
Mlyniec was a deputy with the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office for more than 20 years, fully retiring in 2013. The Sheriff said there weren't any marks on Mlyniec's record as a deputy.
Mlyniec was arraigned Wednesday in Wyoming County court and held without bail.
He is scheduled to return to court on March 12.