Teen Charged With Murdering Four Family MembersMARY BETH SHERIDAN , Associated Press
Dec. 15, 1986 2:10 AM ET
EAST CHATHAM, N.Y. (AP) _ A 17-year-old honors student has been charged with fatally shooting his father, brother, 3-year-old cousin and a woman who shared their log cabin, authorities say.
Wiley Gates allegedly shot the four repeatedly with a pistol Saturday night, then drove down the road to his grandmother's house and reported finding the bodies, Columbia County Sheriff's officers said Sunday.
''It's a little hard to believe,'' said the Howard Hatch, the brother-in- law of Robert Gates, one of the victims. ''We never saw any real animosity (between father and son).''
The victims were identified as Gates, 39; his son Robert Gates Jr., 19; 3- year-old Jason Gates, and Cheryl Brahm, 36, described as a housemate of the elder Gates, who was divorced.
''We've had a massacre,'' said Sheriff Paul Proper. ''The bodies were found around the house. They had been shot several times each.''
Blinking back tears, Proper described the shootings as ''worse than anything I saw in Korea.''
Proper said a second person was being questioned, but would give no further details nor discuss a motive. Deputy James Sweet said Sunday night that more arrests were expected in the case.
''You just can't believe something like this could happen, especially in a rural community,'' said Hatch. ''Wiley is an extremely quiet individual. He spent most of his time working with computers. He was an honor student.
''It's got us stymied.''
Investigators spent most of Sunday searching for the murder weapon in the woods around the large log cabin, set back from a rutted dirt road in this village about 20 miles southeast of Albany near the Massachusetts border.
They found the weapon Sunday night, Sweet said. He would not describe it or say where it was located. Proper said earlier it appeared the weapon used was a medium-caliber pistol.
Hatch said several weapons, including hunting rifles and pistols, had been stolen from the Gates home about a week ago. Sweet confirmed that the robbery had taken place, and said no suspects had been arrested.
Wiley Gates, a senior at Chatham High School, was arraigned Sunday before a municipal judge on four counts of second-degree murder. He was held without bail in the Columbia County Jail in Hudson.
Hatch said Robert Gates ran his own trucking company, Gates Enterprises, while Brahm worked for the state tax department in Albany.
Jason Gates lived with his grandmother but was spending a few hours at Robert Gates' home on Saturday, Hatch said. The toddler's parents, Dane and Georgia Gates, died in a car crash last year, authorities said.
Gates was divorced approximately 10 years ago, and his sons have lived with him for about eight years, Hatch said. The boys' mother lives in California.