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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

Law and Order: Otis Street resident charged after child bitten by dog

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, byron, crime, Darien, Le Roy, pembroke

Tami L. Mileham, 40, of Otis Street, Batavia, is charged with a prohibited nuisance. Mileham's Rottweiler allegedly bit a 9-year-old child. The Rottweiler was seized and is currently being held at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Kathleen E. Gonzalez, 52, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with issuing a bad check. Gonzalez is accused of issuing a bad check March 11. She turned herself in on an arrest warrant and posted $500 bail.

Markeda D. Starks, 23, of Campbell Street, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Starks was arrested on a warrant by State Police in Canandaigua stemming from an alleged incident at 9:05 p.m. June 16 in which Starks shoved another person during an argument. Starks was turned over to Batavia PD and arraigned on the charge and posted $300 bail.

Willie J. Miles Jr., 50, of Aberdeen Street, Rochester, was arrested for alleged failure to appear. Miles was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Jerica J. Barber, 39, of Mix Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal tampering, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child. Barber allegedly committed the crimes of criminal tampering and criminal mischief (no details given) at 4:37 p.m., June 14. Barber allegedly resisted arrest in the presence of a child under age 17.

Eric John Betz, 31, of Genesee Street, Alden, is charged with disorderly conduct/obscene language/noise. Betz allegedly screamed obscenities during a domestic dispute in a public place at 440 Ellicott St., Batavia, at 9:34 p.m. on June 17.

Cheryle Jones, 32, of Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Jones was also charged under Leandra's Law with aggravated DWI. Jones was stopped by Ontario County Sheriff's deputies on Route 5 in Canandaigua for an alleged traffic violation. (Source)

Nicholas R. Graves, 18, of 7317 Griswold Road, Bergen, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Graves is accused of having sexual contact with a child under age 17 in the Village of Le Roy. Graves was arraigned and ordered to stay away from the victim.

Benjamin P. Hilton, 25, of 25 Bacon St.. Apt. E, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Hilton is accused of intentionally breaking the window of a business on Mill Street on Saturday.

Heather Ann Johnson, 41, of Calla Way, Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, inadequate lights, driving left of pavement markings in no passing zone and refusal to take breath test. Johnson was stopped at 11:53 p.m. Tuesday on Genesee Street, Darien, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Joseph Jonathan Kuzma, 34, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with petit larceny. Kuzma is accused of stealing money from his employer in Bergen.

Daniel S. Curry, 36, of Webster, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and driving while using mobile phone. Curry was stopped at 11:40 p.m. June 16 by State Police on Route 77, Darien.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Oakfield FD treasurer accused of stealing more than $6k from the department

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

Following a state audit, the treasurer of the Oakfield Fire Department was arrested today by State Police for allegedly misappropriating department funds.

Samantha Hilchey, 31, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, a Class D felony.

Hilchey is accused of stealing more than $6,000 through unauthorized transactions, including paying her personal utility bills and making cash withdrawals.

"Instead of safeguarding department funds, this individual took advantage of her position to pay her personal bills and make unauthorized cash withdrawals," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "I want to thank department officials for helping bring this situation to light and to the State Police for working closely with my staff as we continue our audit and investigation into the department's finances."

The department's audit isn't expected to be completed for another couple of months.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Grand Jury indicts man for grand larceny of scrap metal, and woman on five DWI-related charges

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy, pavillon

John S. Dueppengiesser is indicted for grand larceny, 3rd, a Class D felony. It is alleged that in February on Big Tree Road in the Town of Pavilion he stole property with a value of more than $3,000. He is accused of stealing $5,229.55 in various parts and scrap metal.

Judith E. Peterson is indicted for driving while intoxicated, as a misdemeanor. It is alleged that on Feb. 1 in the Town of Le Roy Peterson drove a 2007 Toyota on East Bethany - Le Roy Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, she is further accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, per se, as a misdemeanor, for having a BAC or .18 or more at the time of the incident. In count three, Peterson is accused of driving while intoxicated, as a misdemeanor, for allegedly driving on Bernd Road in the Town of Le Roy on March 23. In count four, She is accused of DWI, per se, as a misdemeanor, for having a BAC of .08 or more at the time of the March 23 incident. In count five, Peterson is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on March 23 she knew or had reason to know that her license or privilege of operating a motor vehicle in New York, or her privilege of obtaining a driver's license, was suspended pending prosecution on Feb. 24. Furthermore, she was allegedly intoxicated at the time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Canadian accused of putting fellow concertgoer in coma enters guilty plea just before trial

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien
Craig Lawson

A Canadian resident who was arrested at Darien Lake nearly a year ago after hitting another patron of a Kid Rock concert entered a guilty plea today to assault in the second degree.

The plea agreement, which comes on the day jury selection was supposed to start in his trial, caps Craig Lawson's sentence at one year in the Genesee County Jail.

Lawson and Jason McNeil, a former WNY resident who lives in Tuscaloosa, Ala., got into some sort of argument and Lawson hit McNeil, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground.

At a preliminary hearing, Deputy Lonnie Nati testified that Lawson said following the incident, "he never should have touched my wife."

McNeil was hospitalized and in a coma for weeks following the incident.

An online fundraiser set up by McNeil's family drew thousands of dollars in donations, including a donation from Kid Rock.

In January, a source in regular contact with the family described McNeil's injuries as "catastrophic" and said McNeil requires 24/7 care.

The 34-year-old Lawson will be formally sentenced in August.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 11:21 am

Burglar breaks into downtown business, makes off with cash from register

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A downtown business was burglarized overnight and the thief got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The break-in was discovered at 10 a.m. when the owner of the Enchanted Florist, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, arrived at work to open the shop for the day.

Det. Rich Schauf said it appears the burglar used a rock to smash a window pane in the back door and went straight for the cash register.

It doesn't appear at this time that anything else was taken.

Monday, June 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Law and Order: Duo accused of stealing nearly $3K in goods from Walmart

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, byron, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, walmart

Brenden Robert Jones, 29, of Oakbrier Court, Penfield, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Jones is accused of stealing more than $2,800 in merchandise from Walmart. Jones alleged had a crack pipe in his possession at the time of his arrest. The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible. Jones was released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Also arrested and charged with grand larceny was Matthew David Marvin, 26, of Old Country Lane, Fairport. Marvin was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Witness Smith, 45, of Laurel Drive, Attica, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Smith allegedly left a child who was under his supervision unattended in a motor vehicle at 12:22 p.m, June 16, on Jackson Street, Batavia.

Gordon M. Yohe, 71, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with felony DWI, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and refusal to take breath test. Yohe was arrested following a report at 2:38 p.m., June 10, of a suspicious person at a business on East Main Street, Batavia. Yohe was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Tyler J. Aina, 22, of Waterport Carlton Road, Albion, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Aina posted bail and was released.

Jeremy J. Smith, 19, of Loyalist Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Smith allegedly violated an order of protection by contacting a family he was ordered not to contact. Smith was jailed on $500 bail.

Kewa R. Buckman, 43, of Otis Street, Rochester, was arrested on a warrant related to an alleged parking on city streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Buckman was being held in the Monroe County Jail on an unrelated traffic charges. He was transferred to Batavia PD custody, posted cash bail and was released.

Pauline J. Hensel, 61, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant and jailed on $750 bail.

Robert Mitchell Andersen, 44, of Sand Hill Road, Caledonia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, suspended registration and driving without a license. Andersen was stopped at 5:06 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Beniluis Ruiz, 38, of Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal sexual act, 3rd, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful dealing with a child. Ruiz allegedly sexually assaulted a person under age 17. He also allegedly provided alcohol to people under age 21.

Scott Macumber Castle, 52, of Vallance Road Le Roy, is charged with trespass. Castle allegedly trespassed at Byron-Bergen Central School. Castle was allegedly advised previously by school officials to stay off school grounds.

Monday, June 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

Man who dragged deputy with car given seven years in prison

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Scott Kopper

A Batavia resident who dragged a deputy with his car, putting the deputy's life in danger, will serve seven years in state prison, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled this morning.

"It's never easy to impose a harsh sentence on somebody, but it is easier when I feel like I'm fulfilling my duty to separate somebody from society for as long as possible," Noonan said.

Scott Kopper, 37, entered a guilty plea May 22 to assault in the second degree. As a second felony offender, the maximum sentence that could be imposed was seven years.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl said it was personally difficult to be the person handling the prosecution of Kopper because Zickl knew him years before he started getting into trouble.

He knew him, he said, as an EMT working the sidelines at youth football games.

"To be in this position today is difficult because I have to ask the court to impose the maximum sentence on Scott," Zickl said. "He is a threat to society and eventually he's going to seriously hurt or kill somebody."

Assistant Public Defender William Tedford asked Noonan to impose a four year sentence, giving Kopper the best opportunity to return to the life he once knew -- college educated, volunteer firefighter, EMT and hazmat trained, a family man.

That all fell apart, Tedford said, after Kopper's father died and Kopper started using drugs and developed mental health issues.

Zickl told Noonan that Kopper could have killed Deputy Brian Thompson on Jan. 7 when Thompson's arm became lodged in the window of Kopper's car as he tried to flee from Thompson, who was attempting to arrest him for a parole violation.  

It was the day after a blizzard and the roads were still icy. If not, Zickl said, Thompson certainly would have been killed in the incident.

"His tires were spinning as fast as they would go," Zickl said. "On a dry surface he would have been up to 70 or 80 mph immediately."

Tedford said evidence showed Kopper was over medicated that day and probably intended harm to himself, but not to Thompson.

"He has a great deal of remorse for what he did that day," Tedford said. "I have the utmost respect for Deputy Thompson. He has the utmost respect for Deputy Thompson. He's truly sorry. I submit to you that when my client is properly medicated, he has no propensity for violent behavior."

Noonan said the only way Kopper could get proper supervision and mental health treatment in today's society is in prison. There simply isn't the available resources to provide him with the kind of constant supervision he needs if he were at liberty.

Thompson also addressed the court, asking Kopper to turn to Jesus Christ for his salvation and telling Kopper that he forgave him even though he hadn't asked for his forgiveness.

Thompson quoted from the Book of Roman: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse; Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn; Live in harmony with one another; ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

In conclusion, Thompson said, "Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on my life over this past six months."

Dressed in Genesee County Jail orange, Kopper turned his chair a bit toward the dias where Thompson stood and spoke and watched him throughout his statement.

After Tedford spoke, Kopper made a brief statement.

"I'd like to apologize for my actions that day, but more importantly, I want to apologize to Deputy Thompson," Kopper said. "I'm very sorry."

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Law and Order: Rochester man charged for Dec. 27 burglary in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, Darien
Giovanni Rosario

Giovanni Louis Rosario, 21, of Conkey Avenue, Rochester, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Rosario was arrested on a warrant out of Town of Darien Court. He's accused of being involved in a burglary reported at 1 p.m., Dec. 27, on Tinkham Road, Darien. Rosario was ordered held on $10,000 bail. The suspect is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail on unrelated charges.

James Ross Sweet, 53, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Sweet allegedly initiated contact with a person he is barred from contacting by court order.

Timothy Joseph Clark, 54, of North Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Clark allegedly grabbed a woman he knows. The alleged incident was reported at 2:45 p.m., Wednesday.

Mark Anthony DiManno, 56, of Ridgeview  Drive, East Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass. DiManno was arrested on a warranted and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court.

Alyssa N. Bannerman, 20, of Brockport, is charged with conspiracy, 6th, criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and unlawful possession of marijuana; A 17-year-old from Brockport is charged with conspiracy, 6th, and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th; and, Antonio J. Goodson, 24, of Medina, is charged with conspiracy, 5th, and petit larceny. The trio was arrest by State Police in relation to an alleged larceny reported at Kmart at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday. No further details released.

Todd R. Stanton, 32, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Stanton was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 7:48 a.m., Monday. No further details released.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

Attorney for John Robinson asks for dismissal of charge 'in the interest of justice'

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, crime

The attorney for John Robinson, the Bergen man arrested 15 months after he allegedly pointed a shotgun out a window at another person, has asked Justice Donald Kunego, Town of Bergen Court, to dismiss the case "in the interest of justice."

The motion, part of several otherwise standard defense motions filed yesterday by attorney Kevin DeCarolis, addresses all seven statutory points Kunego must consider before rendering a decision.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell filed an answering affidavit, but interestingly, did not use any sort of pointed or strong language opposing the dismissal motion.

In court yesterday, DeCarolis characterized Finnell's response as favorable to his client.

"There isn't a lot there that cuts against my client and his rights in the motion," DeCarolis told Kunego. "A lot of what he raises parrots my motion, quite frankly."

Finnell hardly disagreed, stating, "I laid out the facts as I believe them to be, but I don't know what way that cuts, but certainly it is what it is."

The facts Finnell and DeCarolis seem to agree on is that Brookport resident Michael Crooks went to Robinson's house under the belief that Robinson and Mrs. Crooks had some sort of relationship that Michael Crooks found objectionable.

Crooks banged on Robinson's front door, threatened him and called him a coward for not coming out. In the process, perhaps while trying to gain entry to the house, Crooks damaged the front door.

When he couldn't get Robinson to open the door, Crooks went to the side of the house and looked in a window. At that point, he found Robinson pointing a shotgun at him.

Crooks immediately fled the residence.

On that date, Jan. 13, 2013, Crooks never filed a complaint or even contacted law enforcement. In fact, according to DeCarolis, Crooks actively tried to evade State Police during their investigation.

Crooks was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief, 4th. A charge later dismissed on the condition Crooks not be re-arrested.

Trooper Eric Daigler, who handled the investigation, consulted with other members of his department and the District Attorney's Office on whether to charge Robinson along with Crooks, and concluded that Robinson should not be arrested.

Crooks lobbied the State Police to arrest Robinson in November 2013. When that didn't work, he contacted the Sheriff's Office, which had no prior involvement with the case, in March 2014.

Robinson was arrested by a deputy in April and charged with menacing in the second degree.

"Significantly, the New York State Police, to this day, believe that Mr. Robinson should not have been charged and are not supportive of his prosecution," DeCarolis wrote in his motion.

Finnell wrote in his motion that for basic facts -- the facts contained in the DA's own files -- he agrees. He does not agree with statements by DeCarolis that go to the state of mind or thoughts of Robinson or other parties involved.

These would include the assertion by DeCarolis that Mrs. Crooks often initiated the contact with Robinson and was a "willing participant in their communication."

DeCarolis also stated that "Due to Mr. Crook's relentless and persistent actions, aggressive demeanor and verbal threats, Mr. Robinson felt threatened in his own home."

Finnell said that Robinson's actions rose to the level of probable cause for his arrest.

In addressing one of the points Kunego is asked to consider in the motion for dismissal, Finnell wrote, "The events that led to the conflict are somewhat unique and are not likely to be repeated by this defendant. The typical societal justifications for punishment, rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence are perhaps less applicable to this fact pattern. However, the defendant here might have employed other, less inherently dangerous methods in his claimed defense of his person and property, which methods would not subject him to the possibility of criminal prosecution."

One of the key factors Kunego must consider is whether dismissal would cause the public to loose confidence in the justice system.

DeCarolis argued that public sentiment is clearly behind Robinson already, citing comments left on news media accounts of Robinson's arrest (The Batavian has provided nearly exclusive coverage of Robinson's arrest).

"People expect to be able to protect their 'castle' from attack," DeCarolis wrote. "Mr. Robinson's castle was under attack by Mr. Crooks and public opinion in form of comments on the reporting of this story in the news are overwhelmingly supportive of Mr. Robinson and his actions to thwart an uninvited and threatening presence on his property."

Finnell used an analogy of about speeding tickets in his answer and concluded, "The decision of whether or not to charge in the above scenario (or dismiss in the interests of justice in this case) requires the decision maker (the court) to look beyond what is literal and do what is right. The public's confidence in the criminal justice system will be bolstered with the just decision here, no matter what that decision ultimately is."

If the case isn't dismissed, it will likely go to trial, at which point, DeCarolis is likely to raise the defense -- also a part of his dismissal motion -- that state law allows a person to defend his person and property.

"... a person may be legally justified in his actions when he acts not only to protect himself but also to prevent a criminal trespass or even prevent damage to premises," DeCarolis wrote. "In these instances the law allows for a person to go so far as to use physical force in order to defend against these various threats."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Alleged owners of 420 Emporium face federal charges two years after raids

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

It's been nearly two years since multiple law enforcement agencies raided The 420 Emporium, the erstwhile head shop once located at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, but today authorities announced federal indictments against two alleged owners of the business.

Charles Darwin Fitzgerald, 39, and Amber Lynn Snover, 23, both of Rochester, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of, Schedule I controlled-substance analogues and maintaining drug-related premises. 

They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a possible $1 million fine.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western New York, the defendants are accused of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute alpha-PVP, pentedrone and AM2201, which are all Schedule I controlled-substance analogues. The indictment also charges the defendants with maintaining four drug-related premises in New York for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing and using alpha-PVP, pentedrone and AM2201:

  • 21 West Hills Estate, Rochester;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 14 Market St., Brockport;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 400 Ellicott St., Batavia;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 1475 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester. 

Federal authorities are also seeking forfeiture of more than $770,000 in cash seized July 25 from the Fiztgerald-Snover residence in Greece as well as the property.

The 420 Emporium in Batavia was an infamous business for the 10 or so months it was open. The operators were suspected of selling various kinds of synthetic drugs, known generically as bath salts, and synthetic marijuana. 

Usage of the drugs was suspected in several bizarre and odd incidents locally.

Previously:

The sudden prevalence of bath salts in the community led to citizen protests.

After the 420 shut down, bath salt-related incidents became much less common (though did not completely go away) in Genesee County.

At the time the 420 was open, its ownership seemed murky.

Fitzgerald is listed in Monroe County documents as the owner of 420 Emporium, Inc. Snover once claimed on Facebook to own the 420 Emporium locations in Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse, but not Batavia. When contacted in 2012 by The Batavian, she denied ownership and then filed a harassment complaint with Greece PD against the reporter working on the story. State and local records showed Joshua Denise owned the 420 Store, LLC, at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia.

The 39-year-old Denise was arrested, along with Michelle Condidorio, during the July 25, 2012, raid. Both entered guilty pleas to possession of a controlled-substance analogue. Denise will be sentenced Aug. 21 and Condidorio on Sept. 18.

The 420 Emporium also operated a store in Fulton. That store is not listed in the indictment, but it is outside the jurisdiction of the WNY U.S. Attorney's Office. We don't know at this time if there is a separate indictment in the Central New York jurisdiction.

The July 2012 raid in Batavia was part of a one-day, nationwide effort to crack down on alleged bath salt distributors.

See also: From China White to bath salts, designer drugs ongoing public safety challenge

All photos are file photos from previous coverage.

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