Sheriff: Man charged with murder in Polkville stabbing case

John G. W. Goss, 48, of Cortland

POLKVILLE — Sheriff’s investigators announced this morning the arrest of a Cortland man for the murder of another city man Monday at the Cortland Motel on Route 11.

John G. W. Goss, 48, was arrested for stabbing to death Attius K. Clakeley Jr, 31, around 7:20 a.m. at the motel, according to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office. Goss was charged with second-degree murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies.

The weapons charge is frequently levied against a person arrested for having a weapon after they were previously convicted of a crime. 

Goss stabbed Clakeley in the chest, resulting in Clakeley’s death at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, according to police.

Lt. Todd Caufield declined this morning to describe the altercation between the two men, noting the department is still investigating.

“We’re still following up,” Caufield stated in an interview, “however we are attempting to determine the reason.”

Goss was also stabbed in the incident and was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center for treatment, then transferred to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, Caufield stated in this morning’s news release. He was released to Sheriff’s investigators about 3:30 p.m. Monday and was taken to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office, where he was charged with murder, Caufield said. 

What occurred at the motel Monday morning is not yet known, but Clakeley does have an arrest record for illegally carrying a knife and homemade gun.

Near midnight on Sept. 6, city police arrested Clakeley for brandishing a 13-inch knife and threatening to stab another man who refused to pay him $50 for fixing a bicycle, according to a September news release. The other man disarmed Clakeley by throwing a child’s tricycle at him and then head-butted him during the fight that followed, city police said. When he was arrested, officers discovered Clakeley had a child’s toy gun that he had “...modified and fitted with a .22 caliber steel barrel and hammer making the ‘toy’ capable of firing a single .22 caliber round,” according to the news release. Additionally, Clakeley possessed burglar’s tools —- a flashlight, as well as gloves and a ski mask unnecessary in the warm September weather — and a counterfeit $100 bill, police said.

Clakeley was facing felony charges stemming from the September arrest in Cortland County Court at the time of his death.

As of 10 this morning, Goss was awaiting arraignment at the Cortland County Correctional Facility. 

Sheriff’s investigators are continuing to investigate the murder and ask anyone with information to call the Criminal Investigation Division at 607-758-6151.