CATSKILL — Two people, including an ex-girlfriend, were sentenced Thursday for their part in a murder plot to kill aspiring Catskill rapper Brandyn Dayne Foster.
Sade Knox, 31, pleaded guilty on March 1 to second-degree criminal facilitation, a class C felony; third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony; concealment of a human corpse, a class E felony; and tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony.
Ashton Adams, 26, pleaded guilty on March 12 to first-degree hindering prosecution, a class D felony; concealment of a human corpse, a class E felony; and tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony.
Knox was sentenced to 5-15 years for the top felony charge of criminal facilitation. Adams was sentenced to 4 1/3 to 13 years. Both were taken into custody after their sentencing by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, pending transfer to state prison.
The sentences come one month after Carlos Graham, of Catskill, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in April for killing his former next-door neighbor and romantic rival and burying his body under the floor where he slept.
Graham will also serve an additional minimum 10 years on charges related to the murder.
During Graham’s trial, prosecutors argued that Knox lured Foster into her home with text messages, and that Graham, Knox and Adams conspired to hide Foster’s body in a crawl space before pouring concrete over it. The jury found that Graham killed and entombed Foster and the two guns used to kill him beneath Knox’s bedroom as part of a plot to get his money and valuables.
Graham claimed that he acted in self-defense and Foster attacked him in a jealous rage when he found out Graham and Knox became intimate. Adams, a friend of Graham’s, was in the apartment at the time and helped purchase the duct tape and garbage bags used to bury Foster, the prosecution said.
For more than a year, Foster’s body was entombed beneath an aquarium in Knox’s bedroom where she and Graham slept.
Greene County Judge Terry M. Wilhelm made no statement before the sentencing.
Adams expressed contrition in his statement to the court.
“What happened was wrong,” Adams said. “It might not mean much to everybody else but it means a lot to me. I am sorry to Brandyn and Brandyn’s family, especially his son.”
Speaking to Foster’s young son Jazzon, Adams said he did not know what it is like to grow up with a father and no one deserves to have their father taken away from them.
“It was never a plan for me to be a part of this,” Adams said. “I never wanted to be a part of this, and I have to live with it. I just want to apologize.”
Murder and conspiracy charges against Knox and Adams were dropped earlier this year as part of a plea deal.
Foster’s mother, Bonnie Steinberg, asked Wilhelm to sentence Knox and Adams to the maximum allowed by law.
“Brandyn was kind, compassionate and an incredibly generous person,” Steinberg said. “He helped his friends and anyone he cared about. What I love about Brandyn is that he never spoke about his generosity. I never knew he helped so many people. I have to say I have a lot of respect for the person Brandyn became.”
Knox and Foster had been in a long-term relationship. After Foster’s disappearance on Jan. 27, 2017, Knox led Steinberg to believe her son was missing in phone text messages, the grieving mother said.
“Your honor, I strongly believe Sade Knox is the most reprehensible of my son’s three murders,” Steinberg said. “Because your relationship with my son was the key to their conspiracy, Sade used Brandyn’s feelings for her to lure him into a death trap in her bedroom.”
Since her arrest, Knox gave birth to Graham’s child and has been out of jail awaiting sentencing, Steinberg said.
“It really upset me she was allowed all this time to be with her child, while my son will never be able to raise his son,” Steinberg said in court.
Knox did not give a statement before sentencing. Her lawyer, Eric Naiburg, spoke on her behalf.
Sade “succumbed to overwhelming pressure,” Naiburg said. “I believe Sade, to her core, is a loving, caring and honest person. She is also a person who failed herself and her best instincts at a critical moment, and for that failure, she is being punished.”
Naiburg called Knox’s decision to not call 911 after Foster was killed a “monumental moral failure.”
“What happened on Jan. 27, (2017) was a tragedy and, in an odd way, what is happening today is also a tragedy,” Naiburg said. “It is a tragedy because of this. I believe that Sade has realized that if she picked up the phone and called 911 and told them what had happened, she would not standing here today to be sentenced. She would have been brought in and she would have been questioned. It would have been a difficult time for her but she would not have been charged with any crime.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to email@example.com, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.