ITHACA, N.Y. – A Dryden man was sentenced on Friday morning in Tompkins County Court for the murder of a woman in Collegetown last summer.
Michael Davis, 47, was arrested following the death of Ithaca woman Josie Berrios, 28, who was found dead at a Collegetown construction site on June 13.
Police say they found Berrios dead at the scene with ‘apparent burn’ on her body. Reports say gasoline was also found at the site, an unfinished office building at 209/215 Dryden Rd. According to the District Attorney’s office, Davis was responsible for starting a fire at the scene which ultimately caused Berrios to die of smoke inhalation.
As part of a plea deal, Davis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Feb. 2. and waived his rights to appeal. Davis admitted to the court that he and Berrios had met in 2008 and were sharing a two-bedroom apartment in Ithaca. He attributed the murder to ‘relationship dysfunctions’ between himself and Berrios led to the deterioration of his mental health.
Judge John C. Rowley sentenced the defendant to 25 years to life, the maximum sentence for second-degree murder, a class A felony.
“We are pleased that the Court imposed the maximum sentence,” District Attorney Matt Van Houten said in a press release. “As stated very powerfully by Josie’s family and by Andrew Bonavia in their sentencing remarks, we all need to remember that Josie was loved and she was wanted. She was a bright light in our community who helped countless people with her positive energy, confidence, and courage. She will never be forgotten.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia and Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama. Attorney’s James Baker and Russell Maines represented the defense.