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Amenia pulls together to raise funds for murder victim’s family

WASSAIC — The GoFundMe page’s $20,000 goal created to help the widow of the man stabbed to death last week was inching toward being halfway met this past weekend, as $7,815 had been raised as of Monday, Jan. 24, at 1:51 p.m. The page title is “Help the Cedillo family with cost of tragedy,” and can be found by going to www.gofundme.com, and looking in the Accidents & Emergencies category.

That’s a small indication of how troubled residents of the town of Amenia were to learn that 45-year-old father Juan C. Cedillo had been murdered in their rural town one week earlier, on Sunday, Jan. 16.

His neighbor, David A. Trotta, 26, was arrested for stabbing Cedillo at 173 South Amenia Road in the hamlet of Wassaic. So far, no motive has been named.

Amenia resident Paul Winters organized the GoFundMe page in conjunction with Cedillo’s sister, Mimi Cedillo. As Winters explained on the popular fundraising website, “We are asking the community to help [Mimi’s] sister-in-law with funeral costs for Juan Cedillo. We are also asking for the community to help Vivian Cedillo [Juan’s wife] to help cover expected hospital bills from that day while also creating some extra funds for the family, which includes Juan’s daughters, Mariana and Alexia.”

Winters wrote further about Cedillo, adding that he had been a part of the community since 1995 “and has always helped others when needed, as he established himself in our community while working very hard and raising his family.”

He called Cedillo’s murder “a senseless tragedy that cut short this man’s life,” adding he’s hopeful “the goodness that always shone through when a member of our community has encountered difficulties shines thru again.”

Winters said the funeral will cost about $9,000; the other $11,000 “is to help Vivian get through this difficult time,” as her husband was the family’s “main source of income.”

Winters assured donors that, “All money raised here will go to Mimi, who will be helping her sister-in-law.”

Trotta, who was arraigned the night of his arrest in the town of Amenia Court before Town Justice Christopher Klingner, is being represented by Dutchess County Public Defender Robert Demon; Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Sarah Thompson has been assigned to prosecute the case.

Trotta was immediately remanded to Dutchess County Jail without bail, where he remains.

Cases of murder are rare in these parts; it was the first time such a charge was brought before the new town justice, sworn in just this month.

New York State Police (NYSP) Troop K Public Information Officer A.J. Hicks confirmed Trotta was arrested as soon as officers arrived on the scene Jan. 16, after a 911 call was placed to the Dover Plains NYSP substation just before noon.

Trotta is facing charges of Murder in the Second Degree (a class A-I felony) and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 4th degree (a class A misdemeanor).

Cedillo was pronounced dead due to multiple stab wounds to his head about 20 minutes after EMS arrived on the scene; multiple attempts to save his life by rescue squads had failed.

Both Trotta and Cedillo resided in the small South Amenia Road apartment complex.

Trotta’s original preliminary felony hearing set for Friday, Jan. 21, was adjourned and rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 24.

Hicks said any adjournment date can be requested by the prosecution or defense, but must be approved by the court.

Asked whether Trotta’s case will go to trial, Thompson said, “There would be no way to predict that this early in the case. There’s any number of possibilities, but it’s very early in the case to say whether it would go to trial or not.”

Hicks  meanwhile, said, “The State Police will continue to investigate and provide [its] results to the DA’s office, but we will not be involved in courtroom proceedings unless called to testify.”

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