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Clarkson soccer coach arrested in 12-year-old boy's murder case

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Albany/HV: Clarkson soccer coach arrested in 12-year-old boy's murder case
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Police have made an arrest in the 2011 murder of a Potsdam boy. Clarkson men's soccer coach Oral "Nick" Hillary is accused of killing 12-year-old Garrett Phillips.

"I Just want you to know I am 100 percent innocent, 100 percent innocent. That's all I have to say," Hillary said.

Oral "Nick" Hillary proclaimed his innocence moments after his arrest Thursday. And just hours after a grand jury indicted the Clarkson men's soccer coach on a charge of second-degree murder for the death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips.

"The grand jury spent over a four day period looking at the evidence, so there is a significant amount of evidence," District Attorney Mary Rain said.

Rain said they have both physical and circumstantial evidence. Some that came out recently, during Hillary's deposition from his civil suit against the Village of Potsdam for defamation. A suit his attorney on the case said came after police detained him illegally and damaged his reputation.

"Mr. Hillary is 100 percent innocent and justice and the truth will set him free," Hillary's civil suit attorney Mani Tafari said.

The Phillips family called Thursday a huge and emotional day for the family, but the justice they seek isn't here yet.

"It's the start of the process," Rain said. "Nick Hillary has been brought finally to court to answer to these charges and I think there will be a little sense of relief for them, but there won't be a great sense of accomplishment until he's actually convicted."

Friday, the district attorney's office will begin seeking that conviction.

"We plan on going full bore," Rain said. "We have more things to do in this case."

Clarkson University has placed Hillary on administrative leave. His representative for this case could not be reached for comment.

Hillary is being held without bail and his arraignment was set for Friday at 10 a.m.

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