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Elmira man pleads guilty to manslaughter charge after Tompkins County crash

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  • Staff Report 

An Elmira man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree in Tompkins County Court on Friday for a two-car crash last March that resulted in the death of 49-year-old Joseph L. “Leon” Arguello, according to a statement from Tompkins County District Attorney Matthew Van Houten.

The statement from Friday’s court proceedings also revealed that the man, who was not named in the statement, was charged with Reckless Driving, Criminally Negligent Homicide and Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Incident Without Reporting.


According to the statement, the man admitted to operating a motor vehicle while in an impaired condition in the early morning hours of March 19th, 2022 in the Town of Newfield, and to recklessly causing the death of Arguello, who was visiting the Ithaca area from New Mexico to spend time with his children. Arguello was described as a talented musician in the statement.

The maximum sentence for the charge of manslaughter in the second degree is an indeterminate term of five to fifteen years in New York State prison, said D.A. Van Houten, adding that no promises were made by the prosecution or the Court with regard to the prospective sentence. The defendant also waived his right to appeal.