BELMONT — A town of Clarksville teenager is facing life in prison following the alleged murder of his parents Wednesday evening.
Friday morning, New York State Police said they charged William J. Larson Jr., 17, of Courtney Hollow Road, with two counts of second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony, and two counts of first-degree manslaughter, a class B felony.
If convicted, Larson could face 25 years to life in state prison for the murder charges, and five to 25 years in prison for manslaughter. Troopers said the criminal investigation is continuing, meaning other charges could also be filed.
Larson was arraigned and transported to the Erie County Youth Services Center, as he is under age 18 and cannot be housed in the Allegany County Jail under the state’s Raise the Age law. Bail was set at $50,000 or $100,000 bond.
While his name was originally withheld from the regular state police blotter as it is policy to not list juveniles’ names through the system, troopers released Larson’s name repeatedly Thursday and Friday in press releases. It is believed he will be tried as an adult, as violent felonies that cause physical harm are exempt from the Raise the Age changes.
A call to Allegany County District Attorney Keith Slep’s office seeking comment on the case was not returned.
Authorities said that they have still not positively identified the bodies, but reported Thursday that three people lived in the home. County property records and neighbors indicated those individuals were Larson and his parents, William J. Larson Sr. and Lisa Lynn Larson, who owned the home and jointly owned about 137 acres on seven properties in the immediate area.
Other media outlets reported that the parents were the victims, citing discussions with neighbors.
Law enforcement required a search warrant Thursday morning before investigating, noting that the homeowners could not give consent to a search.
West Clarksville volunteer firefighters were called to the scene at around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday for a structure fire at the address. Upon arrival, firefighters were greeted by someone identified as Larson, who indicated there were two people trapped inside. West Clarksville and Portville firefighters entered the building to rescue the individuals and fight the blaze, which was confined to one room of the residence.
Two deceased victims were removed from the property, but the cause of death was not believed to have been a result of the fire. Authorities have also not reported the cause of death. Emergency services radio traffic indicated the victims were stabbed, but troopers reported Friday that the causes of death are undetermined pending autopsies.
Firefighters remained on the scene until around 5 a.m. A call to the Allegany County Fire Service for information about the fire investigation was not returned by press time.
Following the discovery of the bodies and contact with law enforcement by firefighters, Larson fled into the woods on foot.
A manhunt, lasting until nightfall Thursday, involved dozens of state troopers, tactical teams, Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers. Various techniques were used in the search, including K-9 units, a helicopter with infrared imaging equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Larson was picked up just before 5 p.m. by a trooper on patrol, and he was charged at 8:22 p.m.
(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)