Niagara alum Clayton charged in wife’s murder, pleads not guilty

Former Niagara forward Thomas Clayton pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a second-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Kelley, according to a report in the Star-Gazette.

Clayton, now 37, played for the Purple Eagles from 1999 to 2002.

The Star-Gazette reports that the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at a home in Caton, a town 12 miles west of Elmira, N.Y., and found Kelley Clayton “unresponsive on the floor of her residence.”

Undersheriff Jim Allard would not disclose a cause of death, but District Attorney Brooks Baker said there was blunt force trauma involved. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday morning.

The couple’s two young children were taken to “a safe location,” according to the Star-Gazette.

After his not guilty plea, Clayton was sent to the Steuben County Jail without bail.

Niagara spokesman Tom Burns issued a statement Tuesday night.

“The Niagara community is deeply saddened to learn of this tragedy,” read the statement. “The prayers of the entire university community are with Kelley Clayton and her family.”

Clayton’s next court appearance is Thursday.

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