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Killer sentenced after evading capture for 40 years

After nearly 40 years, a family finally has answers and perhaps some peace and closure. The man who admitted in October to killing someone he considered a romantic rival 40 years ago, was sentenced in Saratoga County Court on Friday, Jan. 15, to a maximum of 17 years in state prison.

Nelson Costello, 63, pleaded guilty this October to Manslaughter in the First Degree, a felony, and admitted he "killed David Bacon" on April 10, 1969 in Waterford. Because the killing took place 40 years ago, the judge was required to sentence using the laws from that time period. The minimum sentence is 5 2/3 years.

Bacon's remains have never been found and Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy said a search for them will hopefully commence in the spring.

At the sentencing, Bacon's brother-in-law Don Miles addressed the court and a group of relatives, saying for 39 years the family "suffered the agony of not having Dave in [their] lives and not knowing what happened to him." Miles said the family always suspected something sinister had occurred because "Dave never let his family down the only way someone could stop Dave from being with his family is if he were kidnapped or killed."

Miles told Costello, "instead of walking away like a man, you cowardly kidnapped and killed a real man." He said there was irony because "one of the worst examples of mankind, in cold blood, took the life of one of the best examples of mankind there ever was."

Bacon was 22 years old when he disappeared on his way to pick his brother up from work around 11:30 p.m. on April 10, 1969. That night, Costello, who was a Waterford constable, told Bacon he was a police officer and his captain wanted to question him about a crime. Bacon went with Costello, who drove to Riberty's Grove in Waterford and shot Bacon three times in the chest with a .357 caliber handgun. He then placed the body in the trunk of his car and drove straight through to Lynchburg, VA where he enlisted the help of a friend and buried Bacon's body along the embankment of the James River.

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