This was the first year of Hudson Valley Post and we'd like to thank all of you for continuing to "follow the conversation" here at Hudson Valley Post.

It's been an interesting year in the local area, full of tragic murders, presidential hopefuls, fires, crashes and tales to warm the heart. Here are the stories we felt had the most impact on the Hudson Valley in 2016.

Justin Speights Murder Investigation



Justin Speights, 20, was stabbed to death on Jan. 1, 2016 while trying to break up a fight at a New Year’s Eve Party in the Town of Crawford.

Following the murder, the Silver Lake Fire District offered a $10,000 dollar reward for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible. Shortly after, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association increased the reward to $20,000.

In early October, 21-year-old Robert A. Lemmount of Circleville was charged with tampering with physical evidence.

In late November, 20-year-old Rasso Chambers was arrested on the same charges. Both deleted electronic evidence from their cell phones on the night Speights was killed, police say.

In late December, almost a year after Speight's untimely death, 20-year-old Juantae Brown of Spring Valley was charged with second-degree murder.

During the nearly-year-long investigation, authorities examined over 40 cellphones, interviewed more than 250 people, secured and forensically examined evidence and executed search warrants in New York, New Jersey and other states.

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