Former NU hockey player convicted of murder for hire

Feb 24, 2017

A former Niagara University and minor league hockey player has been found guilty in a murder-for-hire killing of his wife nearly two years ago in the Southern Tier.

Forty-five-year-old Thomas Clayton was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder in Steuben County Thursday in connection with the September 2015 fatal beating of Kelley Sage Clayton. The jury deliberated for six hours. 

For the price of $10,000, prosecutors say Clayton hired Michael Beard to kill his wife at the couple's home in Caton, near New York's border with Pennsylvania. Beard worked for Clayton at two property remediation franchises. He was convicted of murder last November. 

Clayton starred at NU before going on to play hockey professionally for the Elmira Jackals, a minor league affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.