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Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm

First witnesses take stand -- and one doesn't -- in Dashawn Butler case

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

NOTE: Jurors are instructed by Judge Robert C. Noonan not to read media accounts of the trial. This story contains information not available to jurors. Certainly, no jurors should read the story nor should the case be discussed with jurors.

There's no physical evidence putting a gun in the hand of Dashawn Butler the night shots rang out on State Street 14 months ago, defense attorney Thomas Burns told jurors during opening arguments today in a criminal trail in County Court.

Three witnesses testified before jurors were sent home for the day, but the most unusual moment of the case came when one witnesses scheduled to take the stand refused to testify.

In his opening statement, Burns told jurors that there were no shell casing, no bullet holes in any building or car, no victim shot, nothing to demonstrate clearly that Butler either possessed nor fired a gun the night of Sept. 27, 2013.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman kept his opening remarks brief -- to match the briefness of the incident that allegedly took place on State Street.  

"When all is said and done, through the use of common sense and the collective experience you have in the world to evaluate evidence, you will find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of these crimes," Friedman said. 

Butler is charged with attempted assault, attempt to cause serious physical injury and criminal possession of a weapon.

The charges stem from an incident near 117 State St., Batavia, on Sept. 27, when gun shots were reportedly fired at a person standing on the sidewalk.

Butler was named as a suspect not long after the shooting and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It took several months to locate him before he was arrested. 

Called to the stand today were Julie Ann Carasone, a resident of State Street,  Lisa Strong, a former State Street resident now living in Oakfield, Tracy Leubner, a former girlfriend of Butler's and Kelly Rhim, the purported target of the alleged gun fire.

The case was moving along briskly, after a late start because of the mistaken belief of a juror that the court was closed today, until it came time to call Leubner, the third witness of the day, to the stand.

When Friedman went into the hall to retrieve the witness, he wasn't heard from for a minute or two, and then he stuck his head in the door and told Judge Robert C. Noonan that it would be another minute.

As the minutes ticked by, a woman could be heard sobbing outside the courtroom.

After at least 10 minutes of waiting, Noonan sent the jury into recess and Friedman entered and said that his witness, Tracy Leubner, was refusing to testify.  Friedman held a document that he said was a police report detailing how Leubner had been threatened by a man whom he believed is an associate of Butler's.

Leubner is reportedly an ex-girlfriend of Butler's and has knowledge of both the incident Sept. 27 and Butler's purported gang ties.

In lieu of Leubner's testimony, Friedman requested using the transcript of her grand jury testimony.

Burns objected on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to make his client culpable in the alleged threats, and at the least, there should be a hearing on the matter to establish such evidence.  The case on point, Burns said, was People vs. Smart.

The case, and previous cases, establish that a criminal defendant surrender's his right to confront witnesses against him if the defendent threatens the witness.

With the jury out of the room, Friedman called Det. Thad Mart, with Batavia PD.  Mart was involved in the criminal investigation against Butler, did the initial interview with Leubner, served a subpoena on her Nov. 7, and retrieved her from her home this morning.

Leubner had to be coaxed out of her house and to the court building, Mart testified.

He claimed that Leubner had told him that when she lived with Butler, Butler used to beat her.  He said that she told him on a previous date she had been tricked into attending a party hosted by Butler at a residence on Holland Avenue. At the party, according to Mart, Butler confronted Leubner and said he would have "kicked the sh--" out of her if he had known about her grand jury testimony, and that he would "kick the sh--" out of her if she testified at trial.

Mart testified that a third party also contacted Leubner and threatened her.

"He told her he heard that she had snitched on Butler," Mart said. "She denied this and he went on and said that he found out she had snitched on him. He said that if Butler wanted her dead, he would be willing to take care of it himself."

During cross examination, Burns asked Mart questions about any follow up investigation and Mart said he didn't talk with the third party and never confirmed that Butler and this other person even knew each other.

After a lunch break, Burns called a witness to the stand for this motion hearing.

Gina Bell testified that she was friends with both Leubner and Butler.  She was at the trial, in fact, in support of Butler.  She said she was also friends with the alleged intended victim of the reported shooting, Kelly Rhim.

Contrary to Mart's testimony, Bell said that it was Leubner's idea to go to the party on Holland Avenue. Bell didn't even know about the party, she said, until Leubner invited her.

She testified that there was no apparent conflict between Leubner and Butler at the party, though she admitted she wasn't with either of them throughout the evening, and that Lubener didn't seem distressed or bothered after coming by Butler's house once she left the party.

"She seemed fine," Bell said. "She seemed like she had a good night. She was happy. She said nothing about any problems at the party."

Noonan ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Butler was involved in threats against Leubner and the grand jury transcript could be read to the jury.  He said the only thing Bell's testimony established was who's idea it was to go to the party, which wasn't material to the substance to establishing why Leubner was unwilling to testify. He said nothing in her testimony directly refuted the alleged threats against Leubner.

To read Leubner's testimony, Friedman read the questions he asked in front of the grand jury and Assistant District Attorney sat in the witness stand and read Leubner's answers.

She testified before the grand jury that somebody supplied Butler with a small, black handgun prior to the shooting. It was a revolver, she said (which wouldn't leave behind shell casings).

She said that Butler heard some people arguing near 117 State St., and then he heard his name mentioned.  She said that a person was calling Butler a fake, a phony.

"'You want to see fake,'" she said Butler said. "He pulled out a gun and proceeded to shoot the man."

She later clarified that she meant to say that Butler shot at the man.

She said she heard four or five shots and then the gun jammed.

Later, at a residence in the city, Butler told a friend, she said, to flush the spent shells down the toilet. 

"Dashawn was talking with friends about the gun jamming," she reportedly told the grand jury. "He was upset because he thought the bullets might be too big or something."

It was then that the subject came up that perhaps the bullets were blanks.

It was the only explanation Butler could think of, she said, for why Butler missed the person standing in front of him.

"He didn't understand why he missed," she reportedly said.  "He said he was aiming right at him and if it was actual ammunition he wouldn't have missed."

Testifying in the afternoon was Kelly Rhim, the person Butler is accused of intending to shoot.

He said he's known Butler since about 2001 or 2002 and they're nearly the same age.

The night of the alleged shooting, Rhim said he went to his aunt's house at 117 State St. to pick up some CDs. He said he had recently moved to Buffalo and that he worked as a DJ and needed the CDs for a gig later that night.

He arrived on State at about 10:30 p.m.

There were two people on the porch and Rhim and the other two people had words.  

The group had a confrontation the night before, Rhim said.

Rhim was upset because one of the men, he said, had been going around telling people that Rhim had been in town the night before with a group of gang members from Buffalo.

"They're not even close to gang members," he said.

He then saw Butler run up from behind the house with a youth.

He said Butler accused him of saying that he, Butler, was fake. 

"We fake now. We fake now," he said Butler screamed.

Rhim said, he replied, "Yes, you're fake. You're recruiting a bunch of teen-agers to be part of all that B.S."

He said Butler then pulled out a gun and told him to back up.

"I just stood there," Rhim said. "I never moved.  He shot three times. I started feeling myself, because I watch a lot of crime shows on TV, to make sure if I was hit or not.  I wasn't sure if I was struck or not." 

He was talking fast and the court reporter couldn't keep up.

He repeated, "I watch a lot of crime shows. You're not supposed to move if you think you've been hit by a bullet."

He said he couldn't believe what just happened.

"I was shocked because I've been living in Batavia since '85," Rhim said. "That kind of violence doesn't go on here, period."

He said Butler ran off after firing the three shots.  He then left and drove to Ri-Dan's where he had some drinks.

During cross, Rhim said he never saw a gun, just "flashes of light" coming from Butler's sleeve.

He admitted later that he was arrested for DWI that night and later convicted in Town of Batavia Court of the charge.

He said he didn't have anything to drink prior to driving to State Street and the alleged confrontation.

After Ri-Dan's, he and his brother-in-law sat in the Caddy and lit up a blunt, he testified.

“After I got shot at I smoked some weed,” he said, rolling his eyes and looking as if any reasonable person would have done the same thing.

His previous convictions over the past decade include disorder conduct (twice), criminal sale of a controlled substance and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

During cross examination, Rhim also conceded that he was driving his white Cadillac that evening without a license, which was suspended because of late child support payments.

After leaving the bar, sometime after 2 a.m., he was pulled over so Sheriff’s deputies could asked him about the State Street incident. He said nine deputies with nine guns drawn descended on him and his friend and had them lie down on the ground. He said one of them asked him whom he shot.

He said he didn’t shoot anyone and there was no gun on the two men or in the vehicle. He was found, however, to be intoxicated and was arrested for DWI. Officers found one “dime bag” of weed on him (enough to roll three blunts he says) and nine more “in the console” of the vehicle.

Continuing with questions possibly intended to cast the witness as having less than sterling character, Burns then asked the prosecution’s witness is he had been arrested for allegedly stealing meat from Top’s Market. The case is still pending.

“It was for $240 worth of stuff,” the witness said. “Roses for my mom’s tombstone, paper goods and stuff. I thought I lost my money. I back-tracked out the store and before you know it I was outside the store at my car.”

He claims his clarity of mind had been affected by medication he had been given for an abscess, which made him “disoriented and delusional.”

But going back to the matter on trial, whether Deshawn Butler used a gun in the commission of a crime on Sept. 27, 2013, the witness stood by his testimony, even though it varied from what he had signed in a sworn statement to Batavia PD.

“They switched the words on me,” he told the jurors.

Burns asked if he remembered telling police that the incident with Butler was related to something posted on Facebook.

He replied that he never said the derogatory remarks on Facebook came from Butler. He said he doesn’t know who posted them.

Lastly, Burns asked him if he remembers telling officers when they pulled him over after he left the bar, “You don’t know what the f--k you’re getting into.”

No, the witness said, “They were making things up.”

Carasone testified that she was in her daughter's room watching Law and Order while her daughter and a friend played a game on the Xbox hooked up to the livingroom TV when she heard the possible gun shots.

"I heard somebody say, 'get down mother f--ker, get down mother f--ker, and then I heard, pop-pop-pop, and I thought 'oh, my God, it's gun shots," Carasone said. "I turned down the TV to make sure it wasn't on TV and then I heard a female saying, 'I can't believe you shot him.'"

She said she ushered the children into the bathtub, thinking they would be safer there if there were any more shots fired, and called 9-1-1.

Asked how she recognized the sound of gun shots, she said her father was a military veteran and the family spent a lot of time on military bases, near firing ranges, and that her father had taught her about guns. 

Lisa Strong testified that she was sitting on her porch smoking a cigarette five doors down from 117 State St.  when she heard what sounded like people arguing.  She heard the gunshots and then saw a white car, possibly a Cadillac, speed away.  She said from two to six people then ran in various directions.

She did not call police. She went in her house and locked the door.

The trial resumes tomorrow at 10 a.m.

 

Billie Owens contributed to this report.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Robbery suspect in custody, but investigators working to determine if she's the right person

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

Investigators have a suspect in custody from an armed robbery at the pharmacy on Main Street in Oakfield today, but haven't ruled out the possibility of a different person being involved, said Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

At about 12:30 a woman entered the pharmacy and displayed what appeared to be a hand gun and demanded cash, according to Dibble.

After the robbery, she was seen fleeing down Forest Avenue, where she entered a residence.

Deputies and troopers surrounded the house, K-9 Destro responded, and a short time later, a woman was taken into custody.

She is being questioned by investigators, but Dibble said this afternoon that they hadn't ruled out the possibility that she's not the woman who robbed the pharmacy.

The house was being searched and the woman and other people were being questioned, Dibble said.

There was a tussle during the robbery and a female employee sustained finger nail scratches on the back of her neck, Dibble said.

The woman who robbed the pharmacy was wearing a hoodie and had what appeared to be an ace bandage covering a portion of her face. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Pharmacy in Oakfield robbed, suspect is in house on Forest Avenue

post by Billie Owens in crime, Oakfield

The suspect of an armed robbery that just occurred at a pharmacy in Oakfield is reportedly hiding inside a residence at Forest Ave.

The suspect is a female dressed in a blue sweatshirt with a scarf around her face. She allegedly drew a weapon inside the business at 40 Main St. and demanded money. She was seen running into the Forest Avenue residence and is believed to be armed with a knife and a gun.

The Sheriff's K9 unit is called to the scene and law enforcement is there and is setting up a perimeter.

UPDATE 1:44 p.m.: Deputies are speaking with a person of interest in the case.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Criminal charge dismissed against Bergen man who pointed shotgun at suspected intruder

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, crime

In the interest of justice, John Robinson, the 51-year-old Bergen resident arrested on a menacing charge after pointing a shotgun at a possible intruder into his home, is a free man.

Town of Bergen Justice Donald R. Kunego issued his ruling today on a motion by defense attorney Brian DeCarolis that the charge against his client be dismissed.

In a four-page ruling that Kunego read from the bench, the judge did just that, saying that a man has a right to defend his castle.

"People expect to be able to protect 'their castle' from attack," Kunego said. "Mr. Robinson's castle was under attack by Mr. Crooks. People confronted with the same circumstances presented to Mr. Robinson on the day in question would unquestionably engage in similar behavior with the expectation that they were properly and lawfully defending themselves."

According to Kunego, Brockport resident Michael Crooks went to Robinson's home Jan. 13, 2013, to confront Robinson, whom he had never met in person before, over some sort of relationship between Robinson and Mrs. Crooks that Mr. Crooks didn't like.

In Kunego's recital of the facts of the case, Crooks banged on Robinson's door, yelled and threatened him and kicked at the door hard enough to damage it. When Robinson didn't open the door, he went to another portion of the house presumably to gain entry.

"Due to Mr. Crooks' relentless and persistent actions, aggressive demeanor and verbal threats, Mr. Robinson felted threatened in his own home," Kunego said. "He feared that Mr. Crooks was not going to leave until at the very least he had entered his home and physically confronted him and at worse he would physically harm him."

Kunego said he believed Robinson's response was entirely lawful and justified.

After the ruling, Robinson said he was relieved, but he also expected to prevail.

"I wasn't really that nervous because I thought I did everything right," Robinson said. "I called 9-1-1. I put the dogs away. I avoided contact with him and all I did was stay in the house and tried not to have the conflict. When I talked to the state troopers, when they were there, they said I did the right thing."

The day of the confrontation, Crooks heard later that a trooper wanted to talk with him. He went to the Batavia barracks, where he was arrested by Trooper Eric Daigler. He was charged with criminal mischief, 4th, for damaging the door of Robinson's home on Lake Road in Bergen.

The door was pretty heavily damaged, Robinson said today, as well as the screen, from Crooks kicking and hitting it.

Crooks, who had no prior criminal record, eventually received an ACD (adjudication in contemplation of dismissal). As soon as his six months of good behavior was up, he started lobbying for the arrest of Robinson. First he went to the State Police, but local troopers wouldn't even consider it, so he went to the Sheriff's Office.

There he found a sympathetic ear with a sergeant who turned the case over to Deputy Matthew Butler.

"When Officer Butler showed up 15 months later and told me I was under arrest, I couldn't believe it," Robinson said. "I was like, you've got to be kidding me, right? He told me right then and there that he didn't want to arrest me, but he had to. I don't know what he meant by that. I don't know if he was forced by his upper commanders, but that's what he told me. He said, 'John, I don't want to do it, but I've got to.' "

Robinson's arrest didn't sit well with the troopers familiar with the case, which was part of Daigler's testimony in a hearing on the motion to dismiss Oct. 1.

"I was dumbfounded," Daigler said. "First and foremost, it's common practice not to take on other agency's cases. We refer to it as 'cop shopping.' It happens. Usually, we are pretty good at stopping people who are just trying to get the right answer. They are looking for the answer they want. That's usually the Sheriff's Office policy."

The State Police response to Robinson's arrest is one element of the case that helped Kunego arrive at his decision to dismiss the charge.

"It cannot be overlooked that after a full and complete investigation of this incident by the New York State Police and after consultation with the Genesee County District Attorney's Office, a decision was made that there was insufficient evidence to even charge Mr. Robinson," Kunego said, referring to the initial investigation and consideration of charging Robinson in 2013.

"Significantly, the New York State Police still believe that Mr. Robinson should not have been charged and are not supportive of his prosecution."

Factors in Kunego's decisions, which are part of the findings in an "interest of justice" dismissal, are:

  • Menacing, 2nd, a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is one year in jail. Given Robinson's lack of criminal record, his steady employment and longtime residence in the same home, he would not have received any jail time even if convicted. The dismissal might have been harder for Robinson to obtain if any of those facts weren't true.
  • There was no real harm to anyone from Robinson wielding a shotgun inside his own home. More significantly, Kunego said, only Robinson contacted police in relation to the incident. Crooks didn't contact police until after he inquired with a family member and learned that Daigler was looking for him.
  • If the case did go to trial, Kunego said, it would be unlikely, given the facts of the case, that Robinson would be convicted by a jury, especially in New York, where a person who is protecting life and home is legally protected in taking action to advance that protection.
  • While nobody in the Sheriff's Office can be accused of misconduct in the case, Kunego said, the fact that his arrest came 15 months after the arrest cannot be ignored.
  • Sending Robinson to jail would not advance the cause of justice, Kunego said, nor would it make the community safer given the unique circumstances of the case and the lack of any prior arrests or criminal complaints against Robinson.
  • Dismissal, Kunego ruled, would advance public confidence in the criminal justice system, while further prosecution of Robinson would erode public confidence, since any reasonable person, according to Kunego, would do exactly what Robinson did Jan. 13, 2013, in the same circumstances.

"I'm glad he went this way, but I can't believe it took this long," Robinson said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 6:38 am

Law and Order: Alleged driving while license revoked lands Wyoming couple in trouble

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, Bethany, byron, crime, Darien, Oakfield, pembroke

Christian J. Finkney, 26, of South Academy Street, Wyoming, is charged with 18 counts of criminal contempt, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation and unlicensed operation. Ashly N. Boatwright, 27, of South Academy Street, Wyoming, is charged with 18 counts of facilitating aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and one count of circumventing an interlock device. Finkney allegedly drove a vehicle 18 times in Genesee County while his license was revoked for an alcohol-related offense. Darien Town Court reportedly directed Finkney not to drive until his privileges were reinstated by the DMV. Finkney was arraigned in Batavia, Darien, Alexander, Pembroke and Bethany and jailed on $10,000 bail. Boatwright is accused of allowing Finkney to drive a vehicle registered to her on 18 occasions. She is also accused of blowing into an interlock device to circumvent the device.

Nathan Robert Arnold, 22, of Terry Street, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Arnold was allegedly involved in a fight with a person protected from him by court order. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Jamie Michelle Lauck, 27, of Spencer Court, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 and parking in the highway. The Sheriff's Office received a report at 12:51 a.m. Sunday on Colby Road, Darien. Lauck was allegedly located in a vehicle stopped in the roadway by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Louis James Stoller Jr., 22, of Erie Street, Le Roy, is charged with burglary, 2nd, and petit larceny. Stoller is accused of entering a residence on South Street Road, Le Roy, with the intent of taking the dog from the residence. He was jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Damian Christopher Woodruff, 32, of Walmore Road, Niagara Falls, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Woodruff was stopped by Deputy Patrick Reeves on federal game lands on Sour Springs Road, Alabama. He was allegedly hunting without a permit. He allegedly was found in possession of a shotgun, in violation of the law barring convicted felons of possessing firearms. 

Nathaniel Michael Dickes, 21, of Broadway Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Dickes was allegedly involved in a fight at 9:57 pm., Saturday, at a location on Webber Avenue, Oakfield, in which Dickes allegedly pushed and grabbed another person and threw an object at that person.

Donald Ivan Manes, 58, of Lewiston Road, Basom, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, misuse of dealer plate, speeding (74 in a 55 mph zone) and failure to keep right. Manes was stopped at 2:06 a.m. Sunday on Kelsey Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Kristen Irene Merriam, 33, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Merriam was charged following a traffic stop at 12:30 a.m. Saturday on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Bryan D. Bates, 35, of Mill Street, Batavia, is charged with conspiracy, falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement and offering a false instrument, 1st. Bates allegedly reported an incident that did not occur and providing a false written statement. Bates is being held on a parole violation.

Tyler J. Warfle, 19, of Chapel Street, Elba, is charged with five counts of identify theft, 3rd. Warfle is accused of using the debit card of another person without permission.

Mark T. Zdrojewski, 61, of Meyer Road, Pendleton, is charged with issuing a bad check. Zdrojewski was arrested on a warrant. 

A 17-year-old resident of Liberty Street in Batavia was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. He was taken into custody during an investigation of an unrelated complaint.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

Law and Order: Alabama woman accused of threatening neighbor with a rake

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Le Roy, Oakfield

Lee Ann Mullen, 54, of Alabama, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and trespassing. Mullen was arrested earlier this week by State Police for allegedly threatening a neighbor with a metal rake while the neighbor was walking her dog on her own property. Mullen was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Ronnie J. Sumeriski II, 32, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Sumeriski was stopped at 1:35 a.m. Friday on Main Street, Attica, by an Attica police officer after the officer observed an alleged expired inspection sticker.

A 16-year-old resident of Batavia is charged with menacing, 2nd, and criminal possession of a weapon. The youth was allegedly involved in a disturbance at 5:57 p.m. Monday on Central Avenue where he had a knife and was waving it around, threatening individuals. Batavia PD withheld the name of the youth from the arrest report.

A 17-year-old resident of Batavia is charged with assault, 3rd, criminal mischief, and harassment, 2nd. The youth was allegedly involved in a disturbance at 5:57 p.m. Monday on Central Avenue. He allegedly struck another person and broke a necklace around the neck of the victim. He allegedly threatened to beat up another person. Batavia PD withheld the name of the youth from the arrest report.

Todd M. Holly, 49, of Lincoln Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Holly was allegedly involved in an incident on Soccio Street, Batavia, and in the process violated an order of protection.

Marcos A. Torres, 32, of Sunrise Parkway, Oakfield, is accused of violating an order of protection at 11:45 p.m. on Nov. 9. He was jailed on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

Joseph P. Pratt, 20, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Pratt allegedly allowed an unlicensed youth to drive his car. Pratt was jailed on $500 bail.

Andrea M. Gray, 36, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with conspiracy, 6th, falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement and offering a false instrument for filing. Gray was arrested following a reported incident on Mill Street at 1:47 a.m. on Nov. 9. No further details released.

Robert Vincent Campbell, 32, of Adams Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Campbell is accused of pushing another person several times in an attempt to engage that person in a fight. The alleged incident was reported at 6:45 p.m. Friday on Prestige Crossing, Batavia.

Lawrence Alan Fuchs, 65, unlisted address, is charged with violating sex offender registry law. Fuchs turned himself in on a warrant.

Thomas John Serra, 39, of Savage Road, Holland, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Serra allegedly struck a person protected by court order with an oil dipstick, causing injury. Serra was jailed on $5,000 cash bail.

Jamie Elizabeth DiLaura, 21, of Lincoln Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. DiLaura is accused of shoplifting at Target.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Driver of car involved in a pair of collisions arrested

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accidents, crime

A 23-year-old Elba man was taken into custody this afternoon following a pair of traffic collisions and a bit of a police pursuit from Bank Street to Main Street in front of Tim Horton's.

Joseph J. Zambito has been charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to Sgt. Dan Coffey, Batavia PD.

Sometime around 2:30 p.m. police received a report of a vehicle striking a car on Bank Street just within city limits. The vehicle was spotted on Bank Street, Coffey said, and officers attempted to make a traffic stop, but the car continued, turning right onto Main Street.

The vehicle struck another car west of Jefferson Avenue, Coffey said, and then patrol vehicles were able to box in the silver sedan and stop it in front of Tim Horton's.

Following a short investigation, the driver was taken into custody.

Zambito is also being charged with several traffic violations, Coffey said.

Reader submitted photos.

 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Oakfield FD treasurer admits to petit larceny

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

Via The Batavian's news partner WBTA:

The former treasurer of the Oakfield Fire Department has pled guilty to a charge of petit larceny, in connection with the disappearance of thousands of dollars of department funds. Samantha Hilchey, 31, entered her plea in Oakfield Town Court.

She has already paid $6,000 in restitution.

The remaining amount will be determined when the state audit of the fire department’s books is completed.

District Attorney Lawrence Freidman says whatever that amount is, Hilchey will be required to pay.
She faces up to a year in jail when she is sentenced on Jan. 5th.

Hilchey was arrested by State Police in June on a charge of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony.

The deal allowed her to plea to petit larceny, a misdemeanor.

Monday, November 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Law and Order: Bergen resident accused of making moonshine

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, corfu, crime, pembroke

Shane Irwin Crosby, 38, of North Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with manufacturing an illicit alcoholic beverage, a Class E felony. Crosby was found to have an illegal moonshine still during a visit by probation officers at 8:40 a.m., Oct. 26. Deputy John Weis was dispatched to investigate. Crosby is accused of operating a still without being a properly licensed distiller. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Dale S. Berglund, 39, of West Allis, Wisc., is charged with felony DWI. Berglund was stopped at 8:45 p.m. Sunday in the Village of Corfu for allegedly driving 51 in a 35 mph zone.

Willie Marshall, 61, of Batavia, is charged with forcible touching. Marshall was arrested following an investigation by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation into a complaint that he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old girl while staying with her mother at a local motel.

Brett Nelson Magoffin, 39, Genesee Street, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and failure to keep right. Magoffin was stopped at 5:27 p.m. Sunday on Read Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Macayla T. Brown, 18, Ja'Nelle A. Smith, 18, and a 17-year-old, all of 8170 Batavia Stafford Townline Road, are charged with petit larceny. The trio are accused of stealing $366 in merchandise from Walmart.

Kaylee Louise Middaugh, 19, of Little John Road, Belfast, is charged with petit larceny. Middaugh is accused of pushing a cart full of merchandise out of Walmart without paying for the items.

Eric Vernon Biscaro, 57, of Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, is charged with assault ,3rd. Biscaro is accused of hurting another person during a domestic incident.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Grand Jury: Man indicted on multiple counts for alleged sex acts with minor

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Grand Jury, Pavilion

Beniluis Ruiz is indicted for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, for allegedly subjecting another person to sexual contact in the Spring of 2013 when that person was physically helpless and therefore incapable of consent.

All counts stem from alleged incidents in the Town of Pavilion.

  • In count two, he is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct with a person less than 17 years old in December 2013 when he was age 21 or older;
  • In count three, he is indicted for third-degree rape, a Class E felony. It is alleged that in December 2013 he engaged in sexual intercourse with a person under 17 years old and he was age 21 or older;
  • In count four, he is indicted for criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on a second occasion with a person less that 17 years old in December 2013 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count five, Ruiz is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on Jan. 5 with a person under age 17 when he was 21 or older;
  • In count six, he is accused of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was 21 years old or older;
  • In count seven, he is indicted for third-degree criminal sexual act, a Class E felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct on a second occasion on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count eight, Ruiz is indicted for third-degree rape, a Class E felony, for engaging in sexual intercourse on Feb. 10 with a person under age 17 while he was age 21 or older;
  • In count nine, he is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly acting on Jan. 4-5 in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child under age 17;
  • In count 10, he is accused of the same actions as in count nine, but involving a second child under age 17;
  • In count 11, Ruiz is indicted for unlawfully dealing with a child, 1st, a Class A misdemeanor, for on Jan. 4-5 allegedly giving or selling or causing to be given or sold, alcoholic beverage(s) to a person under age 21;
  • In count 12, he is accused of the same crime as count 11, but involving a second person under age 21.

Matthew D. Marvin and Brenden R. Jones are accused of fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on June 20 in the Town of Batavia, they stole property valued in excess of $1,000, including baby monitors, K-9 Advantix products, Braun electric razors, Oral-B electric toothbrush, computer software, router, "spyder" wire and other products valued at $2,928.84 from Walmart. In count two, they are accused of fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intending to commit a felony on June 20. They allegedly agreed with one or more persons to engage in this criminal conduct.

Christopher M. Colantonio is indicted for criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on April 3 at a bank in the City of Batavia, he cashed a bogus check for $100, which was made payable to him and taken from another person's account. In count two of the indictment, he is accused of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing $100 by means of the aforementioned forged check.

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