14-year-old charged with murder in Black Brook

Police officers stand in the rain outside the home at 15 O’Hara Road in the town of Black Brook. Officials aren’t saying whether the alleged stabbing death that occurred there Thursday morning happened inside the house or elsewhere on the property. (Photo — Jason Cerone, Press-Republican)

BLACK BROOK — A 14-year-old is charged with second-degree murder after an apparent stabbing left a man dead here.

He faces the charge as a youthful offender.

Michael Zindler, 29, of West Chazy was pronounced deceased at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain said.

A 911 call summoned help to 15 O’Hara Road at about 11:15 a.m. Thursday; the caller reported that someone had been stabbed and was not breathing.

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department was first to arrive, LaFountain said, and took the youth into custody without incident.

He declined to release the name or sex of the teen.

Property sealed

State Police, initially responding to a report of an assault, also converged on the ranch-style home at the intersection of O’Hara and Ore Bed roads.

Yellow police tape surrounded the home, with several police and sheriff’s department vehicles gathered on the property. Officers, some in bright yellow rain gear, moved about in a chilly drizzle.

Clinton County property records indicate the home is owned by Ricky L. Holmes. The State Police sealed the property, which was being processed by the Criminal Investigations Unit.

“There is is no threat to public safety at this time,” LaFountain said on Thursday afternoon.

He released no further details, declining to say if the alleged stabbing occurred inside or outside the home, or to answer other questions.

“Fly high, son”

Thursday afternoon, Michael’s brother Greg posted on Facebook: “R.i.p brother i love you with all my heart. I can’t believe this is real!”

Gregory Zindler, whose relationship to Michael was unclear, posted a photo of Michael on his Facebook page with a message: “Well I’m going to miss you. you were trying hard to make things straight and get things together. you will be missed by many. I Love You and miss you. Fly high son!!!”

The struggles he referred to might have been connected to trouble Michael had with the law. He served prison time from July 23, 2013, to June 19, 2015, on a felony conviction of aggravated criminal contempt. He had been charged with that crime along with third-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and assault with intent to cause injury with a weapon, in March 2013 after he allegedly struck his wife with a blunt object.


The teen accused of killing Michael will be arraigned in Clinton County Youth Part Court, State Police said.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie is prosecuting the case, which remained under investigation by State Police and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.


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