Appeals court upholds murder, counterfeiting convictions

May 3, 2017

New York's State Supreme Court has upheld convictions in two high-profile cases.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says justices unanimously affirmed the conviction of Candace Cartagena, who was found guilty of murdering her eight-year-old daughter in 2014.

Eight-year-old Bianca Cartagena was murdered by her mother.

Cartagena claimed the suffocation of the child was an accident, but the trial court found - and the Fourth Department agreed - there was sufficient evidence to prove that she deliberately suffocated her daughter in November of 2010.

Cartagena also was convicted of fraudulently claiming three children as dependents on her 2010 income tax return. She is serving her sentence for that crime concurrently with the maximum sentence of 25-years-to-life in prison for her daughter's murder.

Justices also unanimously affirmed the conviction against Paul Blarr, an Amherst man who admitted selling counterfeit jewelry, including fake diamonds over a 16-year period. Blarr was sentenced to 23-to-69 years in prison in 2015 and has been serving his sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.