Guilty Verdict Reached in Vandenburgh Trial

TROY, N.Y. -- A guilty verdict was reached by a Rensselaer County jury for Joseph Vandenburgh, the man on trial in the stabbing death of Troy operations director Bill Chamberlain.

In December 2015, Chamberlain was killed while walking his dog through his Wynantskill neighborhood.

It took the jury a little more than two hours to find the 29-year-old Vandenburgh guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

“I think the jury did a very important job," said Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove. "They were very deliberative; paid attention throughout this entire trial.”

The jury reached that verdict after receiving a read-back Friday morning on the criminal possession of a weapon charge. Vandenburgh was also convicted on that charge.

After the verdict was announced, many family members and friends of Chamberlain began to cry in the back of the courtroom. However, Vandenburgh showed no emotion, looking straight ahead.

"They’ve showed tremendous poise and strength and faith in this system to arrive at this result today and get justice,” Abelove said.

No one saw who killed Chamberlain that night, but Abelove says Vandenburgh's blood was at the crime scene and his DNA was found on the murder weapon, a large knife. He says that was the most compelling evidence. 

“The fact that the victim’s DNA and blood is on his sweatshirt that is knifed to his bedroom in the basement of his house is quite compelling,” Abelove said.

While Vandenburgh lives in the Wynantskill area, it's still unknown if the two men knew each other. The defense argued that's why Vandenburgh was innocent. They declined to comment following the verdict.

Vandenburgh will be back in court July 21 for sentencing. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison. 

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden released a statement after the verdict was announced, saying: “We continue to remember Bill Chamberlain for who he was: a proud husband, father and dedicated public servant who spent 30 years serving the residents of the City of Troy with distinction and professionalism. My hope is that today’s verdict will bring some closure to the Chamberlain family following this difficult and painful chapter in their lives. I want thank all the law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s office for their tireless pursuit of justice on behalf of the Chamberlain family and the entire Troy community.”

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