ULSTER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An Ulster man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing a childhood friend of his. Gregory Thayer, 50, was found guilty of second-degree murder in May, but Judge Rounds found that he suffered extreme emotional disturbance, and reduced the conviction to first-degree manslaughter.
According to trial evidence, on Sept. 29, 2021, Thayer got into an argument with Bruce Swierc, of California. Thayer was so angry he left the kitchen where the two had been hanging out, went up to his bedroom, got a gun, and came back to the kitchen where he shot Swierc in the back of the head. After shooting Swierc, Thayer called his sister, Stephanie Thayer, instead of 911 or the police.
Bruce Swierc lived in California with his wife and family. He was visiting the Hudson Valley where he had grown up to console his mother, a Rhinebeck resident, who had recently lost her partner. Before returning to California, he had planned to spend a few days more to see relatives and Thayer, whom he had been close with since childhood. Swierc was 48 years old.