A Hudson Valley man may spend the rest of his life in prison following the murder of a local man who was protecting his son.

On Friday in Ulster County Court, Maurice Stansberry Sr. of Kingston was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for murdering Mark Lancaster. Lancaster, 39, of Kingston, was gunned down on Sawkill Road in the Town of Ulster on Dec. 1, 2018.

Minutes before the murder, Stansberry, his son Maurice Stansberry Jr. and a third person, Kevin Gardener, went to the Sawkill Trailer Park for a marijuana deal. Stansberry Sr. was armed with a loaded nine-millimeter pistol.

When he was shown the pot he pointed the loaded gun at the pot dealer, Lancaster's son, and demanded the pot. He and Gardener then ran back to their waiting getaway car driven by Stansberry Jr. and fled.

When Lancaster learned that his son was robbed, he chased the Stansberry car about a mile and a half on Sawkill Road heading towards Washington Avenue and pulled in front of the vehicle causing it to stop.

According to the Ulster County District Attorney's Office, Lancaster got out of his car and said he was going to shoot one of the three men in the car despite being unarmed. Lancaster then opened the driver’s door of the Stansberry car and demanded that they give back his property. Stansberry Sr. then shot Lancaster in the lower abdomen, killing him.

The parents of Lancaster spoke to the court about their loss and the continuing impact and trauma the murder has had on their family while asking the judge for a maximum sentence, officials say. The Ulster County District Attorney's Office supported the victim’s family’s request for the maximum sentence allowed by law.

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