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Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8:53 am

Owner of former 420 Emporium given 30 months in prison, forfeits $771K

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bath salts, crime, synthetic drugs, The 420 Emporium

The man federal authorities identified as the owner of the former 420 Emporium that was a source of synthetic drugs in Batavia will serve 30 months in prison and forfeit $771,109 dollars in seized money.

Charles Fitzgerald was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday.

He had previously entered a guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

The 420 Emporium, which was located at 400 Ellicott St., was the locus of synthetic drug dealing in Batavia for a period in the summer of 2012. Bath salts and synthetic marijuana appeared to be at the root of bizarre behavior by some users and the cause of seizures and other medical conditions that landed people in the emergency room at UMMC.

In July, 2012, local and federal authorities raided the 420 Emporium as part of a nationwide operation to crack down on synthetic drug trafficking.

The home of Fitzgerald in Greece, which he shared with co-defendant Amber Snover, was also raided, where authorities seized boxes of drugs as well as a bag full of cash.

Snover has also entered a guilty plea and will be sentenced June 23 in U.S. District Court.

Friday, April 17, 2015 at 1:20 pm

There may have been no crime at all in what was reported as robbery at Dollar General

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Police officers are sorting things out and trying to determine whether a crime was actually committed earlier today in what was initially reported as a robbery at the Dollar General store on East Main Street, Batavia.

A robbery was reported at 11:20 and police received a description of a suspect and a suspect vehicle. 

Within minutes, the vehicle was stopped and three people inside were detained and questioned and subsequently released.

"The investigation is ongoing," said Sgt. Dan Coffey. "There's no question that these individuals were the ones involved in the incident, if that's what you're asking. They were definitely at the store. They were definitely involved in the incident. We're working to determine whether a crime occured."

Coffey said there were things said in the store and police are trying to determine if anything happened that constitutes a crime.

No merchandise nor money were taken from the store.

Friday, April 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Scott Doll granted motion to obtain untested DNA evidence

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime, pembroke, scott doll

Prosecutors have 30 days to produce and turn over evidence in the Scott F. Doll murder case that may yield DNA from the Feb. 19, 2009 crime scene, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled in a decision released this afternoon.

Doll's attorney, Timothy P. Murphy, filed a pair of appeals related to Doll's 2010 murder conviction, which has him serving a 15-years-to-life prison sentence.

While Noonan granted the DNA appeal, he ruled against Doll on his motion that he received inadequate trial counsel.

At a hearing earlier this week, ADA William Zickl couldn't confirm for Noonan whether the evidence that might yield DNA still existed.

Noonan ruled the evidence be turned over, "subject to any disagreement as to protocol for the custody and preservation of such evidence, which will then be resolved on application to the Court."

On the representation issue, Murphy argued that attorneys Paul Cambria and Daniel Killelea failed to raise objections to Doll's transport from Pembroke to the Sheriff's Office the morning of the murder based on Fourth Amendment provisions.

Noonan ruled that the defense attorneys did adequately raise objections and that the appeals process had already upheld decisions to allow evidence gathered during that process -- statements by Doll and his clothing -- to be admitted at trial.

Doll was convicted by a jury of beating to death a former business partner and prison guard coworker, Joseph Benaquist.

The defense is seeking further DNA testing to establish whether a third person was at the murder scene, which the defense contends, if the DNA testing had been done prior to trial, could have changed the outcome of the case. The prosecution contends the evidence against Doll is so overwhelming that even if a third person's DNA is found at the scene, Doll would still be found guilty of murder by a jury.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: We asked Sheriff Gary Maha if the evidence still existed and was secured. His one-word answer: "yes."

Friday, April 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

Law and Order: Alexander man charged with attempted arson

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, pembroke

Jayson W. Dersham, 31, of Wortendyke Road, Alexander, is charged with attempted arson, 2nd. Dersham was arrested following an investigation into an incident on Maple Street in February. He was jailed on no bail.

Nickolas R. Miller, 23, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant related to an unspecified charge. He turned himself in, was arraigned and jailed on $5,000 bail.

Glenn Homer Quintern, 56, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with exposure of a person. Quintern allegedly exposed his bare bottom at 4:38 p.m. Tuesday while on Central Avenue, in front of an adult and some children.

Kevin A. Cole, 36, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Cole allegedly visited a person at that person's residence where the protected party resides in alleged violation of a stay away order.

Dan M. Carter, 53, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and unregistered motor vehicle. Carter was stopped at 6:54 p.m. Wednesday on East Main Street for an alleged traffic infraction by Officer Nedim Catovic.

Vicky L. Devie, 57, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with uninspected motor vehicle and parking in city lot over the 15-minute limit. Devie turned herself in on a warrant and posted a $50 police bail.

Shane Zimblis, 44, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd. Zimblis is accused of stabbing another person in the arm with a kitchen fork during an argument.

Maurice A. Glasco, 36, of North Avenue, Medina, is charged with falsely reporting incident and unlawful possession of marijuana. Glasco is accused of falsely reporting an incident at 12:59 a.m. Saturday at 20 Main St., Batavia.

Colleen Frances Walker, 40, of Garfield Street, Rochester, is charged with possession of more than 400 untaxed cigarettes, speeding and unlicensed operator. Walker was stopped at 11:47 a.m., Thursday, on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. She allegedly possessed 1,200 untaxed cigarettes.

Friday, April 17, 2015 at 11:22 am

Man robs Dollar General store in Batavia, now at large

post by Billie Owens in batava, crime

A robbery just occurred at the Dollar General store on East Main Street in the City of Batavia. A heavy-set black male demanded everything inside the cash register from a clerk and left the store. He is said to be wearing jeans and a dark jacket. City police are responding.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Feds raid vapor shop on Ellicott Street for allegedly selling fake products

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

An E-cigarette/vapor retail shop at 327 Ellicott St. was raided this afternoon by agents of Homeland Security who had a search warrant for counterfeit E-cigarettes. The shop is across from Hutchins Street in the City of Batavia and has no business name on the outside of the building. The feds are investigating the alleged sale of E-cigarettes made in China but marketed under a competitive brand name.

UPDATE: The business name is A Plus Vapors.

UPDATE: Here's a New York Times piece on China's booming electronic cigarette manufacturing business, including counterfeits.

UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: After initially being told by a federal authority that details would be available later, we're now told the search warrant is still under a court-ordered seal and no more information will be released. We'll continue to try and find out what we can.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 8:55 am

Law and Order: Two teens arrested after officers respond to report of marijuana ordor in apartment

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, bergen, crime, Le Roy

An 18-year-old Le Roy resident and a 17-year-old Le Roy resident are charged with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana. Le Roy PD responded to a report of the smell of marijuana in an apartment. After a brief investigation, officers concluded the youths possessed and smoked marijuana in the apartment while two youths under age 17 were present. The 18-year-old was jailed on $500 bail. Le Roy PD did not release the names of either individual.

Christopher E. Merrell, 53, of Bergen, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, no seat belt, inadequate exhaust, illegal window tint and unlicensed operation. Merrell was stopped by State Police on Route 98, Alexander.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 8:48 am

Drug Task Force announces three arrests

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Three people have been arrested as the result of two separate investigations into the illegal sale of narcotics in Genesee County.

In the first investigation, arrested were Sege D. Kalmbacher, 39, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, and Paula R. Kalmbacher, 43, of Overlook Drive, Batavia.

Sege is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Paula faces one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and one count of criminal possesison of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Both are accused of selling a controlled substance to agents of the Local Drug Task Force.

Sege was arrested Friday and jailed on $10,000 bail. Paula turned herself in Monday and was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

In the second investigation, arrested was Cynthia C. Richardson, 35, of Maple Street, Batavia. 

Richardson is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. 

She is accused of selling a controlled substance to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force.

She was arrested at the courts facility and jailed on $10,000 bail.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Law and Order: Pair of alleged shoplifters charged with multiple larcenies

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

Thomas E. Hensel, 31, and Tonya D. Smith, 29, are charged with grand larceny, 4th, and conspiracy, 6th. Hensel and Smith were allegedly caught stealing items from the Target store. Upon further investigation, they were found to have allegedly committed additional larcenies during March at Target and Walmart. Hensel was charged with four counts of petit larceny and Smith was charged with one count of grand larceny, 4th, and two counts of petit larceny. Some of the stolen items were recovered.

Amir D. Gifford, 19, of Cherry Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged violation of probation. Gifford turned himself in. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Jessica M. Rivera-Mann, 31, of Liberty Street, was arrested on a pair of warrants related to alleged parking violations. Rivera-Mann turned herself in and entered a guilty plea in City Court. and was ordered to pay a $100 fine within 60 days.

Kerri L. Forsberg, 43, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a harassment, 2nd, charge. Forsberg was arrested following a reported incident at UMMC on April 3.

Laura J. Reed, 23, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Reed was allegedly found in possession of marijuana at 6:18 p.m. April 10 by Officer Jamie Givens.

Kenardo R. Fields, 25, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Fields was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 9:20 a.m., Sunday.

Zachary Michael Burk, 18, of Sparks Road, Pavilion, is charged with petit larceny. Burk allegedly stole a 30-pack of Busch beer from Pavilion Farm Market.

Charles H. Wroten, 54, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated DWI (Leandra's Law), DWI, improper right turn, improper signaling a turn. Wroten was stopped at 11:03 p.m. Tuesday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Sgt. Ron Meides. Wroten is accused of driving while intoxicated with a child less than 15 years old in the vehicle.

Michael Robert Sigl, 22, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Sigl was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed without bail.

Taylor Nicole Tillotson, 19, of Perry Road, Le Roy, is charged with trespass. Tillotson allegedly returned to College Village after being banned from the property.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Attorneys argue appeal of Scott Doll murder conviction

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime, pembroke, scott doll

Oral arguments in the latest appeal of Scott Doll's murder conviction were heard by Judge Robert C. Noonan this morning in Genesee County Court.

Timothy C. Murphy represented Doll and ADA William Zickl represented the people.

Murphy's appeal is based on a few key points:

  • There was no "emergency doctrine" need to transport Doll from Pembroke to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road the early morning of Feb. 19, 2009 after Doll was found in blood-covered clothes and blood was found on his vehicle parked at North Lake Road and Main Road. Doll, Murphy argued, was taken into the custody, not just merely held in an attempt to find out if somebody was hurt and in need of help;
  • There was no DNA evidence taken from under the fingernails of the murder victim, Joseph Benaquist. If there had been, it's possible the presence of a third party at the scene might have been discovered, which could have changed the outcome of the trial;
  • The failure of Doll's defense attorneys, Paul Cambria and Dan Killelea, to raise these issues at trial constitutes incompetent representation.

Zickl countered:

  • Doll's defense had every opportunity to raise these issues and did in fact raise these issues, at the trial level and through the appeals process and they lost on the rulings;
  • The emergency doctrine does apply to the transport of Doll because the emergency continued unabated until the body of Benaquist was discovered;
  • The transport was necessary because investigators felt certain that Doll was covered in human blood and even though they didn't yet know what happened, it was likely a crime might be discovered and the evidence needed to be secured, rather than letting Doll walk around in 10-degree weather;
  • Because Noonan served as trial judge, he knows Doll received a vigorous, cogent and coherent defense that can hardly be characterized as incompetent;
  • Even if DNA had been collected, and even granting for the sake of argument that a third-party presence might have established, that fact wouldn't have changed the outcome of the case. The evidence that Doll killed Benaquist is simply overwhelming and conclusive. Where Murphy argued that physical evidence indicates Benaquist was involved in a struggle against attackers, Zickl argued the evidence is clear that Benaquist was ambushed and had little opportunity to defend himself. 

Noonan said he should have a written ruling in about a week.

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