Wayland man sentenced for 2016 murder of David O'Dell
BATH — An angry, defiant and unapologetic Joseph Meyers lashed out at investigators and prosecutors Friday prior to being sentenced to spend 23 years to life in prison for first-degree murder in the arson-for-profit killing of his friend David O'Dell last year.
Meyers, who potentially faced life in prison without the possibility of parole, was sentenced by Steuben County Court Judge Joseph W. Latham.
The 45-year-old Wayland businessman, who was convicted by a Steuben County jury in May on nine counts, including first and second-degree murder, first-degree arson, conspiracy, attempted insurance fraud and making false written statements, blasted the prosecutor, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, during a pre-sentencing statement that lasted for the better part of an hour.
"I have been convicted on lies and innuendos," said Meyers, who read from a written statement and remained seated along side his defense attorneys, Christopher Tunney and Peter Glanville.
"I did not start a fire at that house. I did not do anything at that property," Meyers added.
The prosecution said Joseph Meyers conspired with his wife, Iryn Meyers, to kill the 60-year-old O'Dell by setting fire to O'Dell's New Galen Road house on Feb. 15, 2016. Authorities said the motive was to collect some $140,000 in insurance payouts. During the two and half week trial, the state called 34 witnesses and offered more than 120 exhibits. Investigators said the fire was set in the basement of the New Galen Road house, and that Meyers used an accelerant to start the blaze.
Meyers has 30 days to appeal his convictions. Tunney said the appeal will be filed almost immediately.
Baker, arguing for the maximum sentence, called Meyers a remorseless killer who burned O'Dell alive.
"He has no place in a civilized society," Baker said. "He will do anything, to anyone for any reason."
Meyers' sentences on the other counts will run concurrently with the 23 years to life term.
Baker said he expects Meyers to spend at least 20 years in prison before he is even considered for parole.
Iryn Meyers goes on trial in August for second-degree murder and other charges, having avoided facing first-degree murder by agreeing to testify before a grand jury. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts, including murder, arson, attempted insurance fraud and conspiracy.
Joseph Meyers offered a rebuttal to much of the prosecution's case, and a contrasting version of the events leading to the blaze, which burned the New Galen Road house to the ground. Meyers pinned the blame on O'Dell, saying he was careless around fires and was hearing voices that told him to burn the house down.
"David started the fire in the wood burning stove (in the basement)," Meyers said.