Hammond II expected to plead guilty in Cortland murder case

Editor’s Note: The following article contains graphic content and depictions of violence.

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – A Virgil man is expected to plead guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 16-year-old girl in May.

Michael S. Hammond II, 24, was arrested May 8 and charged with murder in the death of Amie Leland, who was a student at Cortland High School.

Hammond II is scheduled to appear before Judge Julie Campbell at 9 a.m. Thursday to answer to a Superior Court Information charge and plea agreement, according to officials at the Cortland County Courthouse. An S.C.I. is a written accusation filed by a prosecutor containing felony and, in some cases, misdemeanor charges.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hammond would plead guilty to second-degree murder and spend 20 years to life in prison, according to court documents. He could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

The Cortland County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

On May 8, a family member of Leland’s returned home to find the 16-year-old lying on the ground with severe injuries, according to the City of Cortland Police Department. Hammond II was identified as a suspect and arrested less than two hours later at his home in Virgil.

He was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Leland had broken up with Hammond II about two and a half weeks prior to her death, Hammond II would state in a written confession to police investigators. In his confession, he also admitted to stabbing and striking Leland and expressed remorse for his actions, stating that he visited her home on Lincoln Avenue with the intention of talking to her about their relationship.

While at the home, Hammond II struck Leland in the head with a wooden stool and an aluminum baseball bat, according to written testimony from a city police officer who was at the scene. Hammond II also stabbed her in the neck and chest with a handled paring knife.

“I wish I could go back in time. I wish I never went over there. I just snapped,” Hammond II told investigators.

If he accepts the plea deal, Hammond II will give up his right to a speedy trial.

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