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Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 9:17 am

Law and Order: Year-old gun theft discovered this weekend, suspect arrested

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

Ryan J. Scopano, 27, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Scopano is accused of removing two guns from a business on West Main Street Road, Batavia, some time in the early winter months of 2013. The owner didn't discover the guns missing until this weekend. Both weapons have been recovered and are in the possession of the Sheriff's Office. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Kristopher Kautz and deputies James Diehl and Joe Loftus.

Dustin L. Stump, 44, of Stafford, is charged with identity theft, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th. Stump is accused of stealing the debit card of a family member while the person was hospitalized and withdrawing $200 without permission between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1.

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Law and Order: Missing youth located, arrested on warrant after fleeing from house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Darien, Oakfield, Pavilion

Preston S. Daigler, 16, of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Oakfield, is charged with resisting arrest. Daigler was wanted on a warrant out of City Court on an endangering the welfare of a child charge. He was also a reported missing person out of Orleans County. Daigler was located at his residence when the Sheriff's Office attempted to place him under arrest. Daigler jumped from a second-story window and fled into a wooded area behind his residence. Daigler was located about two hours later hiding in a dumpster at a nearby local business. He was treated at UMMC for exposure and then arraigned in Oakfield Town Court. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Kevin Michael Lampman, 41, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, harassment, 2nd, and aggravated family offense. Lampman is accused of trying to bite a woman in the face during an argument. There was allegedly an order of protection in place at the time of the incident. Lampman was jailed on $10,000 cash bail.

Christina AnnMarie Deluna, 34, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Deluna is accused of stealing $576.72 in merchandise from Walmart. She was located five days later at her residence and issued an appearance ticket.

John Frederick Lightfoot II, 21, of Roslyn Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant out of Lancaster for an unlawful possession of marijuana charge.

Anthony Michael Vanille, 55, of Broadway Road, Attica, is charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol and speed in excess of 55 mph. Vanille was stopped at 8:14 p.m., Saturday.

Michael John Valentino, 48, of Hilltop Court, West Seneca, is charged with DWAI (combined influence of drugs), criminal possession of a stimulant, 4th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Valentino was stopped at 2:37 a.m. Sunday on Oak Orchard Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona. He was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine, hydrocodone and marijuana and related paraphernalia. He also allegedly possessed a weapon at the time of his arrest.

A 17-year-old resident of Spring Road, Alexander, is charged with harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of striking another person at Alexander High School.

Raymond Lundy Kelley, 24, of Ellsworth Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kelley is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Grayson Carl Stock, 22, of Sunset Parkway, Oakfield, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Stock was allegedly found in possession of a hypodermic instrument while at a location on West Main Street, Batavia.

Jamie Lee Steinhardt, 22, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with petit larceny. Steinhardt is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Brandon Aaron Barclay, 27, of Big Tree Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barclay allegedly violated an order of protection by having contact with a protected party.

Cassandra Ann Jimenez, 26, of Oliver Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with petit larceny. Jimenez is accused of going through the self-checkout line at Walmart, scanning several but not all of the items in her cart. She then allegedly passed the checkout area with $128.63 in unpaid items in her cart.

Morgan L. Cox Jr., 22, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Cox was allegedly involved in a domestic incident in violation of an order of protection.

A 16-year-old resident of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal diversion of prescription medication, 4th.The youth was allegedly involved in a trade of prescription medication for cigarettes at Batavia High School. Batavia PD withheld the name of the suspect. An unnamed 17-year-old resident of Highland Park, Batavia, was also arrested.

A 17-year-old resident of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. The youth was allegedly involved in a fight at Batavia High School. Batavia PD withheld the name of the suspect.

Amber L. Ostrander, 24, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, was arrested on warrant for alleged failure to appear. Ostrander allegedly failed to appear on a charge stemming from her arrest in August for driving on a suspended license.

Danielle M. Cravatta, 30, of Walden Creek Drive, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for allegedly issuing a bad check in November, 2013. 

Gregory A. Emerson, 32, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Emerson was stopped at 1:04 a.m. Friday on Richmond Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

Law and Order: Suspect found hiding in bathroom arrested on multiple warrants

post by Howard B. Owens in crime

Jamie A. Dutton, 22, of Buell Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on petit larceny charges. Dutton was arrested after being found hiding in a bathroom of a residence on Thomas Avenue. Dutton is charged with three counts of petit larceny. Dutton was also wanted by the Sheriff's Office on a grand larceny warrant out of Rochester and for traffic violations. Dutton was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Edward White, 19, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. White was arrested by a Le Roy police officer for allegedly possessing brass knuckles.

Matthew Herman, 22, of Rochester, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Herman was reportedly involved in an accident at the intersection of Route 5 and Route 19, Village of Le Roy, leading to his arrest.

Nicholas Bowden, 19, of Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Bowden allegedly stole an iPhone and laptop and attempted to sell the items. He was jailed on $500 bail or $1,000 bond.

Didier Asne Antoine, 20, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Antoine is accused of trespassing at College Village.

Demetri C. Stewart, 22, of East Main Street, Batavia, Stewart was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful dealing with a child charges. Stewart was charged in connection with an alleged underage drinking party on Halloween.

Terry E. Smith, 37, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged harassment, 2nd. During an argument, Smith allegedly flipped a couch while another person was sitting on it, causing the person to fall to the floor. Smith was held on $750 cash bail.

Deborah R. Blatt, 53, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Blatt was stopped at 10:36 p.m. Saturday on Law Street, Batavia, by officer Mitchell Cowen following a complaint of an erratic driver on Route 98.

Teshawn A. Lang-Smith, 18, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Lang-Smith is accused of striking younger siblings during an argument.

Vanson L. Warner, 66, of Vine Street, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Warner allegedly aggressively grabbed an employee of UMMC while at the hospital at 10:25 p.m., Monday. Warner was jailed on $500 bail.

The State Police conducted a DWI sobriety checkpoint on Route 63 in the Town of Batavia on Friday night and into Saturday morning. A total of 173 vehicles went through the checkpoint. Seven tickets were issued for traffic violations.

Arrested were Ronald M. Market Jr. (previously reported) and Tomy L. Velasquez, 21, of Warsaw. Velasquez is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. During the checkpoint, troopers detected the odor of marijuana. A search of the vehicle resulted in troopers locating a plastic baggie allegedly containing a small amount of marijuana. 

Steven M. Geyer, 21, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal impersonation. A vehicle was stopped by Attica PD for alleged no plate lamps. Geyer was a passenger in the vehicle and allegedly provided police with a false name, reportedly to avoid being arrested on a warrant out of Rochester. He was wanted for alleged unlawful use of a motor vehicle. He was jailed on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

Monday, December 1, 2014 at 10:45 am

Law and Order: Man arrested in lockdown incident Thursday also accused of selling drugs

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

Jonathan Cornelius Hoges, 32, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged wit criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th,, and endangering the welfare of a child. Hoges allegedly used what appeared to be a handgun and threatened to kill himself in front of his two young children in an incident reported at 2:47 p.m. Thursday at his residence on Ross Street. He was later taken into custody on Miller Avenue. At the time of his arrest, he was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine and packaging. He was jailed on $20,000 bail, or $40,000 bond. (Previous report)

Joseph A. Cafarelli, 48, of Hunters Gate Drive, Rochester, is charged with falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement. Cafarelli allegedly reported that his debit card had been stolen while at Batavia Downs Casino. An investigation revealed the incident allegedly did not occur. Cafarelli was jailed on $500 bail.

Melanie Rose Cantabrana, 22, of Maple Ridge Road, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Cantabrana is accused of stealing $680.51 in merchandise from Walmart.

Nancy June Brandon, 36, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to pay fine. She was also charged with facilitating aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Brandon was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 10:40 p.m. Sunday by Deputy Joseph Corona. The driver allegedly was unlicensed. Brandon was jailed on $400 bail, or $800 bond.

Latoya Yalanda Stanley, 26, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and unlicensed driver. Stanley was stopped for alleged traffic violations at 10:40 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Stanley also reportedly was wanted in the Town of Gates on a warrant on an unrelated matter.

Michael Andrew Balla, 39, of Hazlemere Avenue, Machias, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Balla allegedly damaged a garage door, valued at more than $250, at a location on Main Road, Stafford. Balla was jailed without bail.

Christopher Ryan Waite, 25, of Skye Road, Basom, is charged with DWI, driving while ability impaired by drugs and reckless driving. Following numerous calls of an erratic driver, Waite was stopped at 11:46 p.m. Friday on Route 262, Byron, by Deputy Matthew Butler. Additional charges are pending.

Julie L. Dutton, 19, of Manhattan Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Dutton was arrested after police were asked to check on the welfare of a person on Thomas Avenue. Dutton was allegedly found hiding in a shower by police officers inside the residence of a person allegedly protected from contact by Dutton through a court order. Dutton was jailed on $500 bail.

Samantha J. Armstrong, 21, of Hart Street, Batavia, turned herself in on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a parking citation for improper street parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Armstrong was released on $100 cash bail.

Deborah R. Blatt, 53, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Blatt is accused of verbally harassing and annoying a neighbor. 

Terrence D. Johnson, 19, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic citation. Johnson posted bail and was released.

Nicholas J. Mungillo, 20, of Union Square, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession alcohol under age 21. Mungillo was allegedly found intoxicated following the report of a fight in the area of Jackson Street and Watson Street at 3:46 a.m. on Sunday. Also charged was Michael A. Canzoneri, 19, of Edgewood Drive, Batavia.

Anya R. Rambuski, 44, of Birchwood Drive, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a DWAI charge.

Ronald M. Markek, 34, of Corfu, is charged with felony DWI. Markek was stopped at 10:13 p.m. Friday on Route 63 Batavia, by State Police. Markek was jailed on bail.

Lori J. Marchese, 55, of Corfu, is charged felony DWAI. Marchese was stopped at 5:22 p.m. Saturday on Main Road, Pembroke, by State Police.

Friday, November 28, 2014 at 11:51 am

Law and Order: One-car accident leads to DWI arrest

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

Dustin Ray Cleveland, 29, of Townline Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, speed not reasonable and prudent, failure to keep right and operating an unregistered vehicle. Cleveland arrested following a one-vehicle accident at 1:25 a.m., on West Bergen Road, Le Roy, by deputy Joseph Corona.

Lisa Ann Galloway, 33, of Redman Road, Nunda, is charged with attempted criminal mischief, 4th, and resisting arrest. Galloway allegedly threw the mobile phone of another person to the ground, breaking it into several pieces, in an incident reported at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia. When officers attempted to arrest Galloway, she allegedly pushed the officer backwards and refused to be taken into custody.

Kenneth Walker Cook Jr., 53, of Oak Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for failure to pay fine levied for code violations (rotting garage roof and siding). 

Kevin O. Simmons, 54, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to comply with a drug court order, which was the result of a DWI. Simmons was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Latoya Y. Stanley, 26, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation and failure to use headlights.

Justin L. Pyatt, 26, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, petit larceny and violation of probation. Pyatt is accused of leaving the state in violation of probation over the summer. He was jailed on $2,500 bail. At the time of his arrest he was allegedly at a residence that he is barred from by court order.

A 17-year-old resident of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. The youth allegedly violated an order of protection by being at a specific residence during a domestic incident. Batavia PD did not release the the suspect's name.

Klarissa Carol Price, 36, no permanent address, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, 3rd. Price allegedly failed to return a rented vehicle by the agreed upon date and time.

Ray A. Watson, 25, of Hart Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged aggravated unlicensed operation. Watson turned himself in. He was released on $250 bail.

Bryan S. Harris, 32, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Harris is accused of a disciplinary action that caused bruising.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

Drug dealer sent to prison for five years

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Dajuandrick Gardner

A Batavia man accused of selling drugs earlier this year was sentenced today by Judge Robert C. Noonan to five years in state prison.

Dajuandrick C. "Omega" (and "X") Gardner, 37, of East Avenue, entered a guilty plea to a count of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd on Oct. 24.

He was indicted on six counts related to the sale of cocaine and possession of enough cocaine to constitute suspected drug dealing. The plea satisfied all the counts of the indictment.

The sales to agents of the Local Drug Task Force occurred in January.

Gardner's arrest in March was announced with two other suspects.

"For my part in this case that I committed, I probably wouldn't if I wasn't on drugs," Gardner told Noonan. "I wouldn't have committed the crime and I want to take responsibility for my part that I did regardless of the fact that I was on drugs. I want to apologize to the court and the community."

Noonan told Gardner that his turnabout was a little late.

"You've had many opportunities over the course of your life to clean yourself up from drugs and you never seized them," Noonan said. "You just dove into criminal activity over and over again."

The judge also ordered Gardner to pay $150 in restitution upon his release from prison.

Prior to sentencing, among the requests from Gardner's attorney was one for instructions from Noonan to the Department of Corrections that Gardner's head not be shaved. He said Gardner is a Rastafarian and it would violate his religion to cut his hair.

Noonan said he has no authority to tell the DOC what to do.

Monday, November 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Law and Order: Fourth suspect charged with first-degree rape of woman in Elba

post by Billie Owens in batavia, alexander, corfu, crime, elba, Oakfield
Uriel Ramirez-Perez

Uriel Ramirez-Perez, 26, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with first-degree rape, a Class B felony. The defendant was arrested after allegedly raping a female victim at an Elba residence. The charge is related to the previously reported charges of rape against three other Elba men. This defendant was allegedly present during the Nov. 16 incident. He is in county jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 property bond. The incident was investigated by investigator Kristopher A. Kautz, deputy Dana Richardson and Angel Santos, investigator with the State Police.

Shannon Ann Caton, 39, of Fisher Road, Oakfield, is charged with: driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction within the last 10 years; resisting arrest; attempted escape, 3rd; speed not reasonable and prudent; and following too close. She was arrested Nov. 19 on the charges after she allegedly rear-ended another vehcile twice on East Main Street near Harvester Avenue in the City of Batavia. While at police headquarters, she slipped out of handcuffs and attempted to escape. She allegedly physically resisted her re-apprehension and was then jailed without bail. She is also charged with refusing to take a breath test. The incident was investigated by police officers Jason Ivison and James DeFreze.

Thomas K. Lee, 51, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration. He was arrested Nov. 18 after allegedly interfering with a Batavia police officer's investigation into a domestic incident involving Lee. He allegedly resisted arrest and "attempted to kick patrols." He is in jail in lieu of $2,500 bail. The incident was investigated by police officers Jason Ivison and Chad Richards.

Shane Zimblis, 43, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with: operating a snowmobile with a BAC of .08 or higher, first offense; operating a snowmobile without liability insurance; no/inadequate headlight; operating an unregistered snowmobile; and following too close. The charges stem from an accident Nov. 18 on Pearl Street in the city wherein Zimblis was allegedly operating his snowmobile and struck an SUV. He is to appear in city court on Dec. 3. The incident was investigated by police officers Chad Richards and James DeFreze.

April L. Walradt, 37, of Bank Street, Batavia, was arrested Nov. 11 and charged with second-degree harassment. She allegedly made comments to another person and a youth that caused them alarm. She was issued an appearance ticket for city court. The incident was investigated by police offier Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Matthew Michael Biggins, 25, of Rail Road Avenue, Alexander, is charged with third-degree forgery and petit larceny. He was arrested Nov. 14 after allegedly stealing three checks, making the checks out in his own name and then cashing them. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Alexander Town Court on Dec. 2. The incident was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Cory Mower.

Terrance Trae Allen Harley, 18, of Frandee Lane, Rochester, was arrested Nov. 22 on Clinton Street Road in Stafford and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, speed violation (67 in a 55 mph zone), and having no or inadequate taillights. The charges were issued following a traffic stop for alleged vehicle and traffic law violations. Harley is to appear in Stafford Town Court on Dec. 11. The incident was investigated by sheriff's deputy Joseph Corona, assisted by deputy Andrew Hale.

Jennifer Lynn Stack, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. She was arrested Nov. 23 after she entered the Batavia Walmart and remained in the store. These alleged actions violated an active order of protection issued by Batavia Town Court, prohibiting her from being on the premises. She was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in court on Dec. 18. The incident was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Chad Minuto.

Adam Paul Hoopengardner, 34, of Bank Street Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or more and speeding (52 in a 40 mph zone). He was stopped on Lewiston Road Nov. 23 for allegedly speeding and an investigation revealed he was allegedly intoxicated while driving the vehicle. The incident was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Thomas Sanfratello.

James Russell Kosiorek, 22, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested Nov. 20 on a state parole warrant. He responded to the Sheriff's Office to turn himself in and was placed in county jail.

Gloria Susan Moretti, 37, of Main Road, Corfu, was arrested Nov. 7 and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. She was a co-renter of a vehicle from Sikes Enterprises, which allegedly has not been returned and has not been paid for. She was issued a computer-generated appearance ticket and is due in city court Dec. 2. The incident was investigated by Batavia police officer James DeFreze.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Jury finds Dashawn Butler guilty on all three counts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

It took a jury only a couple of hours of deliberation to decide that Dashawn Butler is guilty of criminal use of a firearm, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and attempted assault, 1st.

Following the verdict, which came at the end of the second day of Butler's trial, Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered Butler held without bail until he's sentenced at 10 a.m., Dec. 22.

He faces up to 15 years in state prison.

Before he was taken to jail, he collected his personal belongings he had with him -- an iPhone, a necklace of beads and a cross and his black-and-white plaid shirt -- and had a deputy hand them over to his girlfriend, who wept while she waited.

The conviction stems from shots fired incident Sept. 27, 2013, at 117 State St., Batavia.

The case was wrapped up with closing arguments just before 2:30 p.m. Noonan spent about an hour reading jury instructions and then sent the jury into a private room for deliberations.

The jury sent out notes twice with questions and then announced it had arrived at a verdict shortly before 5 p.m.

Today's proceedings included testimony from a witness who is a firearms expert and one defense witness, whose testimony was meant to suggest that Butler's intended victim, Kelly Rhim, came to State Street that night expecting trouble.

Defense Attorney Thomas Burns tried to establish during the trial that without physical evidence that there was a gun, shots were fired, and Butler fired the gun, there was more than reasonable doubt that his client was guilty.

Before closing arguments, Burns made a motion to have the charges dismissed based on the insufficiency, as he sees it, of the prosecution's evidence.

Noonan has yet to rule on that motion. He said he will issue a ruling before Butler is sentenced. It's technically possible that Noonan could still throw out the charges, thereby overturning the jury's verdict.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman takes a different view, of course, of the evidence.

It's beyond a doubt, but not just a reasonable doubt, Friedman told jurors during his summation that the defendant is guilty as charged.

"This defendant possessed a loaded firearm," Friedman said. "That's what the evidence points to and that's what all of the evidence establishes. He pointed it at Kelly Rhim and he intended to shoot Kelly Rhim."

Where Burns called into question Rhim's character, Friedman said Rhim's testimony wasn't even necessary for the jury to return a guilty verdict.

Burns listed off Rhim's long criminal history, his alleged failure to pay child support, his keen taste for marijuana and the inconsistencies in his story and said his version of events weren't trustworthy.

"Would you trust the word of Kelly Rhim knowing what you know now?" Burns asked. "Would you rely on his honesty if it effected the safety and security of your family?"

Friedman didn't try to boost Rhim's credibility. Rather, he told jurors that Rhim's testimony wasn't necessary to establish that Butler possessed a loaded firearm.

"The defense wants to make all of this about Kelly Rhim," Friedman said. "This case is not about Kelly Rhim. It's about Dashawn Butler. To focus entirely on Kelly Rhim and his credibility is ignoring the fact that the most important witness in this case is Traci Leubner."

It was Leubner's testimony that put a revolver in Butler's hand, Friedman said. It was Leubner's account that demonstrated that Butler expected to shoot Rhim and was surprised when all of his shots missed.

Her statements, Friedman said, were corroborated by the other witnesses, even without Rhim's testimony.

Leubner, a former girlfriend of Butler's, is the witness who refused to testify yesterday for fear of her own safety, and, instead, her grand jury testimony was read for the jury.

Burns was unsuccessful in an attempt yesterday to get a sworn statement from Leubner introduced into the record as well, because there are some possible inconsistencies in the two stories presented by Leubner.

The issue of physical evidence, or the lack of it, loomed large in today's proceedings.

Steve Padin, a firearms instructor at the Erie County Police Academy, and 25-year veteran of Buffalo PD, testified for the prosecution about how and why a person firing a handgun could not only miss his intended target, but also completely miss anything else.

Without the gun, there's no way of knowing with 100-percent certainty whether the weapon fired was a revolver, a semi-automatic or an automatic. 

If it were a revolver, Padin testified, it wouldn't automatically eject shell casings, so no casings would be found at the scene.

The smallest caliber handgun most commonly available is a .22.  

A slug fired from a .22 handgun, if it hits no object, will travel more than a mile before losing speed and dropping to the ground.

Burns told jurors that if Butler approached Rhim from the angle suggested by witnesses, then there should have been bullet holes in the wall of 117 State St., if not, then another object nearby.

Friedman argued that Butler would have been firing in a direction that would have sent bullets north on State Street, with the possibility of there being no objects to hit. The slugs would never be found in that case.

Or if the slugs hit a sidewalk, they could have disintegrated or flown off in who knows what direction; and if they hit dirt, they would be nearly impossible to find.

Padin also testified that it would be quite easy for an inexperienced shooter to miss a person standing even just 10 feet away while firing a handgun.

While Rhim testified he was surprised he wasn't hit by a bullet, Padin wasn't surprised at all.

The quality and design of the gun can effect its accuracy, while environmental factors from wind to light can effect a shooter's accuracy. But more importantly, a shooter's ability or inability to keep the weapon pointed at its target while under stress or excitement can easily cause the shooter to miss.

Padin brought a demonstration device. It looks like a pistol but only fires a laser beam. It's used with students to show them how these factors impact accuracy.

Inexperienced shooters, he said, tend to anticipate the gun's recoil, so they might jerk it down, up or to one side or the other just before pulling the trigger.

Friedman: "Is it possible to miss a human-size target, even one as close as 10 feet away?"

Padin: "Yes."

Friedman: "Have you seen that happen?"

Padin: "I have, many times."

Which brings us to the question, "Who fired the gun?"

Obviously, the jury concluded that Butler did it.

Burns didn't offer another alternative, but he did open the door for the jury to speculate. Friedman, of course, reminded the jury to stick to the evidence and not speculate.

"When it comes to the question of any weapon in that Cadillac, it's a case of protesting a little too much," Burns said. "He isn't outraged at getting stopped for DWI. He's upset when nine officers stop him because they believe he has a gun in that car. And after he witnessed this terrible experience where he got shot at in a neighborhood he said he went back to protect his family, and he knew he left family on the front porch, he drives to a parking lot near Ri-Dans and smokes marijuana and then goes into the bar to drink with no concern for (his family member), no concern for the children in the neighborhood."

Going to Ri-Dan's "probably isn't what most people would do," Friedman told the jury, "but that isn't an argument that the shooting didn't happen." 

The one witness called by Burns was Angel Ramos, who said Rhim has been a family friend for many years.

Ramos, who made it clear almost as soon as she sat in the witness stand that she didn't want to be there, testified that she was at her mother's house on Hutchins Place when Rhim pulled up in the white Cadillac that night.

Rhim said, according to Ramos, "Are you strapped in? Are you ready for war?"

That, Burns suggested, was an indication that Rhim was looking for trouble on State Street that night.

"There's no evidence that Kelly Rhim ever possessed a gun at any point in his life," Friedman said. "There's no indication that Kelly Rhim committed any crime that night on State Street."

As for the statements attributed to Rhim by Ramos, they really don't mean anything, Friedman told the jurors.

"Even if you assume, just for argument's sake, that this was a warning to expect trouble, that doesn't mean he was going to do anything or that he had a gun. That would be entirely speculative because we have no evidence (to support the suggestion)."

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Arrest made in Oakfield Pharmacy robbery

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

A 24-year-old Oakfield woman is being held on $25,000 bail after being accused of robbing a pharmacy this afternoon.

Elizabeth Marie Hamby, 24, of Forest Avenue, is charged with first-degree robbery as well as second-degree robbery.

Hamby is the person initially taken into custody this afternoon after local law enforcement was notified of the robbery.

She reportedly fled from the pharmacy on Main Street in Oakfield to a house less than a block away on Forest Avenue.

A witness saw her leave and go to that location.

A clerk at the pharmacy reportedly suffered minor fingernail cuts in a scuffle with the suspect.

Hamby allegedly made off with $400.

Investigators say Hamby entered the pharmacy and appeared to be shopping for a while and then approached the clerk, displaying what appeared to be a pistol and a knife. She allegedly demanded money.

Deputies and troopers quickly responded to the scene and surrounded the house where the suspect was believed to be hiding.

She's scheduled to appear in Town of Oakfield Court again at 2 p.m., Nov. 26.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Three men in Elba accused of raping woman who visited their house

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba
Santiago Hernandez-Ruiz Darwin Zuniga-Rocha Eliseo Mateo-Perez

Three men in Elba are accused of forcibly raping a young woman at their home on Oak Orchard Road on Saturday night.

The men are charged with rape in the first degree and were jailed on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

All three men were out of federal custody on bail after previously being charged with being in the country illegally, said Investigator Kris Kautz.

Kautz said the victim was a young woman with ties to the migrant labor community in the Elba area. She didn't know the three men, but had seen them around. She had gone to their home because an acquaintance was visiting there and called and asked for a ride home.

When the alleged victim arrived, she tried to get her friend to come out of the house, Kautz said, both by yelling inside and trying to reach her on her phone.

When the friend didn't come out, she went in and that's when things went bad, Kautz said.

Only one of the men spoke a little English, so agents from Immigration and Custom Enforcement were called in to assist in the investigation and translate.

Arrested were Santiago Hernandez-Ruiz, 19, Darwin Zuniga-Rocha, 29, and Eliseo Mateo-Perez, 20.

Deputy Dana Richardson assisted in the investigation.

Also arrested at the same location as a result of the investigation was Catalino Lopez-Leiba, 43, who was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Lopez-Leiba allegedly possessed a forged Social Security card.

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