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Investigators continue probe of man found dead in Swan Road home


The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department announced late Tuesday night that the death of Philip R. Pickett is being attributed to “injuries sustained during an altercation”, apparently making the death a homicide.

In a terse, one paragraph statement, the department said that a person of interest has been interviewed. Evidence that has been collected is still being examind.

The long delay between the discovery of Mr. Pickett’s body and police statements on the incident has taken its toll on the residents of Swan Road. Neighbors said they’ve had a couple of anxious days waiting to hear what happened to the man found dead Monday morning in his parents’ Swan Road home.

Lyle C. Gayne, who lives across the street, said he is not too nervous about what has been called by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department an “isolated incident.”

A retired corrections guard, Mr. Gayne said he feels protected knowing that corrections officers drive by his house numerous times daily to and from the nearby Watertown Correctional Facility. He just would like investigators to provide more information about how 33-year-old Mr. Pickett died.

“I only wish they said what was going on,” he said Tuesday.

More than a day after his body was found, the sheriff’s department confirmed Tuesday afternoon the identity of Mr. Pickett as the man found dead in the home at 22834 Swan Road. He was a resident of the house.

A neighbor with two small children said she “has been on edge” since the news of the death Monday morning. A retired police officer who lives nearby called her husband Monday to see how the family was coping with a tragedy so close to their home, said the woman, who didn’t want her name used.

In a news release Tuesday afternoon, Jefferson County Undersheriff Paul W. Trudeau told residents they “are not in any danger.”

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but the results were withheld.

Contacted about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Victor M. Rodriguez said no other press releases would be distributed for the remainder of the night, unless something warranted more information coming out. Investigators are working hard to get answers, he said.

“They are actively investigating it,” he said.

Neighbors said they noticed an ambulance arrive with a couple of patrol cars about 8:15 a.m.

Investigators were at the house well into the night Monday.

On Tuesday afternoon, yellow police tape was still up at the scene, but the sheriff’s department’s Crime Scene Unit was packed up and ready to leave. The scene was still secured by two sheriff’s department members.

State police and the Watertown City Police Department are assisting in the investigation.

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