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Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Baby Chandler suffered head trauma, authorities say

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Baby Chandler, the 6-month-old who died Sunday while in his father's care, suffered multiple brain injuries, causing his death, according to local law enforcement officials.

Jeffrey L. Deats, 27, of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, has been charged with manslaughter in the second degree and is currently being held in the Genesee County Jail.

In a press conference this morning, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said the charge stems from the belief that Deats acted recklessly and with disregard for the possible harm of his actions. He said at this time there's no evidence to indicate that Deats intended to cause harm or death to Chandler.

Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch said the preliminary report from the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office indicates brain injuries.

The baby is undergoing a full skeletal, neurological and dental exam at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

According to court documents, Deats made a long statement to police about his relationship with Chandler's mother and his time with Chandler, including during this past weekend. 

He later made a second statement and told a detective that he had "not told the entire truth."

He said, "I remember that around 9 or 9:30 p.m., I was walking down the stairs with Chandler in my arms and I was wearing flip-flops. As I started to go down the stairs, my foot slipped and I began to fall. When I fell, the back of my head hit the stairs really hard. When I got to the last three steps, I rolled and I tried to protect Chandler. As we were falling, Chandler's head was going back and forth really bad. At no times did I tell my mother what happened. I think she was in her room sleeping, but I'm not sure. I did not want to tell anyone that I had messed up because they would think bad of me."

In a statement to police, the baby's grandmother, Jacquelyn Deats, said she heard Chandler crying off and on throughout the night and that she woke up around 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning because she was thinking about going to church. 

A half hour later, she said, she heard Chandler crying loudly, like he was screaming.  

"I heard Jeff stomping down the stairs and he was calling, 'mom, mom' several times," Jacquelyn Deats said. "He sounded very upset. I said that I was in the bathroom. When I came out, Jeff was holding Chandler so that Chandler's head was on Jeff's shoulder. Jeff said, 'He's been up all night and I need to sleep.' Jeff was really upset. He laid Chandler on the couch and said, 'Now, you go to sleep you god damn bastard,' and he turned around and went upstairs."

She went on, "when I looked at the baby, I knew something was wrong. He was breathing very slow, shallow and labored breaths. I was praying that he was going to be okay."

She said first that she didn't call for help because she was afraid what Jeff would do. That statement is scratched out and she said she was hoping the baby would calm down. 

"I picked Chandler up and when I touched his hands and feet, they were cold. I tried to warm them up and I said, 'please warm up,'" she said. "I was just praying he would be okay. I laid Chandler back on the couch. Chandler did not move for the entire time he was on the couch. He also had his eyes closed the entire time."

She said she called up to Jeff at 8:30 a.m. and Jeff told her to wake him up at 9:30 a.m.

When Jeff came down at 9:30, they noticed Chandler wasn't breathing, she said. Jeff apparently tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and Jacquelyn called 9-1-1. 

"Before I left for the hospital, Jeff told me, 'you need to tell everyone that you were with me the entire time,' " she said. 

In a second statement, Jacquelyn Deats said he had no knowledge of Chandler being dropped or anybody slipping and falling while holding him or of anybody falling down the stairs.

She also said in the same statement that Jeff came downstairs about 6:05 a.m., "and I heard him 'thump' down the stairs."

"When he came downstairs he was out of breath and disheveled," she wrote. "I think it is possible that he might have fallen then. Chandler was all disheveled and his shirt was up to about the middle of his torso and there were red marks on his stomach that looked like it was from Jeff holding him really tight. If anybody had fallen down the stairs any other time, I would have heard it."

The mother of Chandler is identified as Michelle Zuch. In his statement, Jeff Deats said he met Zuch through Facebook. 

They first time they met in person, they went to the sandwash off Cedar Street.

Three weeks later, Deats said she texted him and said they needed to talk. She came to Batavia and told him she was pregnant. 

"We fought every day over the phone," Deats said. "Michelle would tell me that it was my child, then say it wasn't. This went on until just recently."

He said after DNA testing, Zuch told him he was the father. 

Sometime later, Zuch brought Chandler to Batavia for a visit with Deats. 

"After a while, I started having Chandler on Sundays," Deats said. "Chandler was around four months old when this started happening. I would bring him back on Sunday night and Michelle would say I wasn't going to see him anymore. Michelle would not say why. She would just call me a deadbeat father."

He said before this last visit, Michelle tried to back out of letting Chandler visit on Sunday, the after further conversation she said, "why don't you just take him for an overnight," Deats said.

Deats and his mother picked him up Saturday around 9 a.m., Saturday, according to the statement. 

"Chandler looked perfectly fine when I picked him up," he said. "There may have been a little bruise on his left or right thumb, but I'm not sure."

When they stopped for gas in Pembroke, Deats said he was in the back seat with Chandler watching him play with a toy.

"It was orange and made of hard plastic," he said. "The toy swung around and bashed him the mouth. Chandler started crying, but I was able to calm him down. I looked and saw that his lower tooth was missing and his mouth was bleeding.  I looked for the tooth in the car, but I could not find it."

He said he called Zuch and Zuch wanted the baby returned immediately.  

"I told her he would be fine at my house," he said.

Twenty minutes after getting home, Zuch showed up at the house and so did the police.

The police entered the house, checked out Chandler, he said, and after a brief interview, Deats said they told him they didn't see anything wrong.

He told police that Zuch was welcome to stay and make sure the child was fine, and Zuch did stay and visit for a while, he said.

He and Zuch went to Dunkin' Donuts with two friends

Later, at home, Zuch visited longer. Then Deats said he gave Chandler a bath and the baby seemed fine. He put new clothes on him and they "just hung out the rest of the day."

Zuch left around 1 p.m.

His mother started watching Chandler around 3:45 p.m. while Deats went upstairs with a friend. He left for work at 8:20 p.m.

"W/hen I got home, mom was on the couch with the dog watching TV," Deats said. "I took a picture of Chandler and sent it to Michelle. Michelle had been blowing up my phone asking for a picture, that's why I did it."

He said he checked Chandler's diaper and it was fine, and then he made him a bottle. 

"I brought him upstairs with his bouncy chair," he said. "Michelle had told me that he doesn't fall asleep in people's arms or in the bed, so I put him in his bouncy chair. I could tell he was tired because he was throwing his little tired whine. I picked him up and he fell asleep in his (sic) arms."

He said Chandler work a little when he laid him down, then went back to sleep in five minutes. 

His mother then went upstairs to watch Chandler and Deats left the house with a friend.  He returned about 20 minutes later and found Chandler still asleep upstairs. 

He and a friend watched the Heisman Trophy presentation and then a documentary on U2.

Shortly after that, Chandler woke up. 

"Chandler was making fussing noises," Deats said. "He then started to cry. I picked him up and sat him on my left knee about five minutes. He was still fusing so I put him in my arms and tried giving him a bottle. He was till fussing and pushing it away. I then put him back in his bouncy chair, facing the TV. He seemed fine then. I would rock the chair with my hand or sometimes my foot."

His friend left about 2 a.m.

"Chandler would fuss every time it went to commercial or when I would stop rocking him."

He tried giving Chandler a bottle, but Chandler spit it up four or five times. 

He changed Chandler's clothes and his own clothes, he said. 

For the next few hours, Deats said Chandler was in and out of his bouncy chair and fussing on and off.

After his mom got up, he said he brought Chandler downstairs and laid him on the couch. He aid he asked his mom to watch him for a couple of hours so he could get some sleep. 

"He was rubbing his head and yawning and making little talking noises," Deats said. "I tucked him in, putting his two comfort blankets around him. I made sure he was ok and then I went upstairs and went to bed."

He said he came downstairs again at 9:40 a.m.

"Michelle was blowing up my phone again," Deats said. I told her I was gonna send her a picture, shower and then five Chandler a bath, then call her. 

"I walked downstairs and took a quick picture of Chandler. When I first laid Chandler down, his head was facing towards my mom's bedroom. When I came down, his feet were kinda pointing towards my mom's bedroom and his head was more towards the back cushions. My mom was in the kitchen. As soon as I took the photo, and as I hit send, I realized that he was passed. I just had that feeling in me.

"I pulled the blanket off and put my hand on his belly to see if it was cold I felt that he was warm. I said to my mom that I think he passed away. I said that 'we are f--ked, Michelle's gonna kill us.'

"I picked up Chandler and his arms were limp and his head fell backwards. I just held him really tight in my arms then brought him to my mom's bed and layed him down. I tried doing CPR. My mom called the ambulance. My mom was a wreck when I told her I thought Chandler was passed."

First reported on The BatavianFather in custody in case of infant's death in Batavia

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

Batavia man accused of selling morphine

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Anthony Spearance

A Batavia resident has been arrested, accused of selling morphine to undercover agents.

Anthony J. Spearance, 29, of Washington Avenue, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. 

It's alleged that Spearance sold morphine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. He was arrested on a sealed indictment Tuesday.

Spearance was ordered held without bail.

Also arrested Tuesday was Jacob W. Patterson, 18, of Killian Road, Pembroke.

He is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.

Task Force members allegedly found him in possession of heroin and a needle in March 2014. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

Father in custody in case of infant's death in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia man is in the Genesee County Jail tonight, charged with manslaughter in the second degree in connection with the death this weekend of an infant, according to local law enforcement sources.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch has scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference to discuss the case, but has not replied to e-mails tonight seeking comment on the arrest of Jeffrey L. Deats, 27, of Olyn Ave., Batavia.

A corrections officer did confirm that Deats is in custody, but declined to answer further questions about his status.

According to friends of Deats, Deats is the father of 6-month-old Chandler, whom police reported two days ago was found unresponsive Sunday morning at a residence on Olyn Avenue.

Chandler was later pronounced dead at UMMC. An autopsy was performed Monday by the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, but those results have not yet been released.

Deats has two prior arrests where he was charged with harassment after being accused of making threats to other people.

On Tuesday, he tweeted:

@Jaguars yesterday I lost my lil dude in his sleep he was a young jags fan play hard for him this Sunday #RIPchan 

Friends have left several messages of support, and messages defending Deats, on his Facebook wall.

On both Facebook and Twitter, he has frequnetly posted pictures of Chandler and one friend wrote shortly after news of Chandler's death became public:

Jeff Deats loves Chandler. I don't care what anyone says, he would never do anything to HIS own son. 

Until Batavia PD releases more information at the press conference, we won't know the reason investigators decided to charge Deats in Chandler's death.

There is a charitable fund set up to assist Chandler's mother, Michelle Zuch, of Tonawanda, called Memory of Chandler.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm

STOP-DWI announces holiday enforcement detail

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, STOP-DWI

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI coordinator Matt Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

While we spend this Holiday Season celebrating with friends and family and looking forward to the blessings of a New Year, the law enforcement community across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Dec. 12th and will end on Jan. 1st. New York State Police, County Sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce drunk-driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem. Sheriff Gary T. Maha advises that he will have dedicated DWI patrols and Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) out looking for impaired drivers this holiday season and enforcing the DWI laws. “Our goal is to have zero DWI-related accidents over the holidays.”

The STOP-DWI Holiday Season Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and implemented by the STOP-DWI Foundation. In addition, the Foundation has created a new mobile app – “Have A Plan” that is available as a free download for smart phones to help find safe rides home no matter where you may be celebrating. Many thanks to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee for its support of this new technology. Go to www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp or visit your app store.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. It is significant to note that nationwide in 2012, during the Holiday period (Dec. 12-31), there were 1,698 motorists killed in traffic crashes with 31 percent attributable to impaired driving. According to NHTSA data, 60 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belts and 42 percent were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver who had a blood alcohol content of .08 BAC or higher. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidents of drunk and impaired driving. Have a safe and happy Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 9:31 am

Law and Order: Hunter allegedly found with stolen handgun

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

David E. Stone, 63, of Route 237, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd. Department of Environmental Conservation officers were investigating a report of a person hunting with a rifle in the area of Morganville Road, Stafford, when they came into contact with Stone. Stone was allegedly in possession of a shotgun, loaded rifle and a loaded .357 caliber revolver. Stone is accused of not possessing a valid pistol permit. It's alleged that the revolver was stolen from a residence in the Town of Le Roy sometime within the past three years. Stone also faces possible DEC charges.

Jame Albert Hancock, 45, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear in October on a criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, charge. Hancock was held on $1,000 bond.

Kara Ellen Wojkowski, 31, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wojkowski was allegedly involved in a fight with another person in her household.

Jessica L. Ford, 23, of Oak Street, is charged with assault, 3rd. Ford allegedly hit another person causing pain and injury. She was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Richard C. Smith, 47, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Smith was stopped at 3:21 a.m. Sunday on West Main Street by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Francis George Germuga, 54, of Stringham Drive, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08, improper U-turn, moving from lane unsafely and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm

First of three men arrested in burglary spree pleads guilty

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke
William Kelly Robert Kelly Michael Correia

One of three men who are accused of a multi-county burglary spree in late August is facing up to four years in prison after entering a guilty plea in County Court this afternoon.

Michael Correia is being released on his own recognizance, as part of the plea deal, and being allowed to return to his home in Syracuse after pleading guilty to burglary, 3rd.

Correia admitted to driving a vehicle to a construction site on East Main Street Road, where his accomplices went into a building and then exited with stolen items.

The alleged accomplices are Correia's nephews, William Kelly and Robert Kelly.

The trio were picked up following a traffic stop in Wayne County, where a deputy became suspicious of all the material in their vehicle.

After being questioned, the men admitted to heists in Genesee County.

Local investigators went to Wayne County and questioned the men further. They reportedly admitted to burglaries in Pembroke and Batavia.

The charges against the Kelly brothers are still pending.

Since Correia did not actually enter the buildings, an element of the crime he needed to confess to today was that at the time he arrived at the East Main Street Road location, he knew his nephews intended to enter the building and steal items.

That was a point Correia found difficult to understand.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, shackled, with long gray hair, full gray beard and black-rimmed glasses, Correia initially told Noonan he didn't know the Kelly brothers intended to steal anything, though he did say that he knew the items they placed in his vehicle before leaving were stolen.

This perplexed Noonan, who conferred with the attorneys and then tried another line of questioning.

Under questioning, Correia admitted that he drove his vehicle to a location in Lancaster, where he said he knew his nephews entered a building and stole items.

He agreed then, he knew they were going to steal items in Batavia.

"You intentionally assisted them in the commission of that crime," Noonan asked.

"I don't understand, 'assisted,' " he said.

His attorney, Public Defender Jerry Ader, whispered something to him and Correia then said that yes, he assisted.

At which point, Noonan could accept his plea of guilty.

Without the plea deal, Correia faced a maximum sentence on the third-degree burglary charge of two-and-a-third to seven years in prison. The plea deal caps his potential term at one-and-a-third to four years. He could still face the maximum if he violates the terms of his release while awaiting sentencing.

Sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., March 13.

Correia and the Kelly brothers still face charges in other jurisdictions, including possession of stolen property in Wayne County.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

Volunteers for Animals offering $750 reward in animal cruelty case

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, crime, pets, volunteers for animals

Via The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

A man walking a dog on East Main Street sometime two weeks ago reportedly stomped a cat to death and Volunteers for Animals is offering a $750 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

"The owner of the dog sent the dog after the cat and the cat was being thrown up in the air," said Wendy Castleman, with the volunteers. "Then the man stomped on the cat, and according to the examination by a local veterinarian, the cat had numerous injuries caused by the dog as well as a broken spine and a crushed skull caused by the stomping."

The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m., Dec. 3, Castleman said, in the area of 600 E. Main St., Batavia.

"We see a lot of neglect at the shelter but this is different in that it is a very violent act," Castleman said. "We all found it extremely disturbing that someone would do this."

The volunteers initially offered a $500 reward, but through a donation this morning were able to up the reward to $750.

Batavia Police encourages anyone with information to call their confidential tipline at 345-6370.

Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Arrest made in series of thefts in Alexander and Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime
Matthew Biggins

A 25-year-old Alexander man has been accused of going on a theft spree earlier this year in Alexander and Batavia, leading to six criminal charges.

Matthew M. Biggins is charged with burglary, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, two counts of identity theft, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. 

On Oct. 18, a resident in the Village of Alexander reported that someone had forced open a rear door to the house and stole cash and loose change.

On Dec. 2, a Warsaw resident reported that cash was removed from her vehicle sometime in August while it was parked at a residence in Alexander. She also reported that while at the same address in November, someone stole her debit card and used it to wire himself two money transfers through Western Union.

On Dec. 8, a Batavia resident reported that sometime in October a person removed a mountain bike from the laundry room of his apartment building.

Following an investigation, Biggins was identified as the suspect. 

Biggins was allegedly found in possession of the missing mountain bike.

On Dec. 9, Biggins was arraigned on all the charges except possession of criminal property. He was jailed on $10,000 bail. Last week, he was issued an appearance ticket on the criminal possession of stolen property charge.

The investigation was handled by Investigator Timothy Weis, deputy Cory Mower and deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Grand Jury Report: Indictment announced in fairground thefts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Grand Jury

James V. Woyshner is indicted on four counts of burglary, 3rd, and a count of grand larceny, 3rd. Woyshner is accused of entering buildings on 5056 E. Main Street Road, Batavia, (the fairgrounds) on or about Dec. 26, 2013, and stealing property valued at more than $3,000, including 45 aluminum fence pieces, fences, mounting brackets, straps, heavy gauge wire, two semi-tractor batteries, a television, Sony Blu-ray player, vacuum cleaner and miscellaneous carnival prizes.

Jeremy D. Lyons is indicted on counts of burglary, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th. Lyons is accused of entering a shed on Old Creek Road, Town of Alexander, and stealing property valued at more than $1,000 -- a Honda ATV.

Monday, December 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

Law and Order: Attica man accused of altering prescription

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, Bethany, corfu, crime, Oakfield

David R. Cook, 20, of Lindsey Road, Attica, is charged with forgery, 2nd. Cook allegedly altered a prescription in an attempt to deceive a pharmacy into giving him more medication than original prescribed. Cook was jailed on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Daniel W. Hennebohl, 59, of Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Hennebohl is accused of scratching a car with a key while in the Walmart parking lot at 11:48 a.m., Sunday.

Nancy Ann Bennet, 44, of Center Street, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Bennet is accused of shoplifting at Kmart.

Christina M. Sanchez-Anderson, 26, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Sanchez-Anderson is accused of failing to appear in court on a grand larceny charge in October.

Daniel J. Saeva, 35, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with strangulation, 2nd, criminal mischief, 3rd, endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, 2nd and assault, 3rd. Saeva is accused of putting his hands around the next of another person and shoving another while in the presence of three children during an alleged incident reported at 9:01 p.m., Friday.

Donya M. Vaughn, 48, of Richley Road, Corfu, is charged with issuing a bad check. Vaughn was arrested on a warrant issued by City Court.

Carter L. Hall, 37, of Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Hall was stopped at 9:10 p.m. Friday at Route 63 and Veterans Memorial Drive by State Police.

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