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Friday, August 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Former nurse from Bergen given probation following second conviction on grand larceny

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, crime

None of it is her fault, former Bergen resident Michele Ann Case told Judge Robert C. Noonan in County Court today during a sentencing on her second grand larceny conviction.

In fact, managers at HomeCare & Hospice, the former employer Case was convicted of stealing from while working as a nurse, concocted the whole scheme against her in order to steal insurance money, she said.

"How could hospice make such a colossal mistake (claiming she broke reimbursement rules)?" Case read from a three-and-a-half page written statement. "Simple, it was no mistake. These rules were new, and used retroactively to make my legitimate paid time into unpaid time in an attempt by hospice to claim I stole from them and in effect steal themselves. They then fraudulently submitted their so called losses to insurance and filed a false report to the police."

Noonan didn't buy any of it.

"I do have a feeling that you see everything through your own little prism of view and that's how you look at it," Noonan said. "You took a nursing job that didn't pan out because other nurses are paid more elsewhere. The detective didn't look at this or look at that ... at some point, you should sit back and look at this the way 24 separate jurors have now looked at it and concluded that you didn't just make mistakes. You stole money."

According to evidence presented at both trials, Case stole more than $14,000 by filing doctored time cards and incorrect mileage logs.

Case's first conviction, in 2012, was overturned on appeal, with the higher court finding that summary sheets tallying the amount of money Case stole was not properly supported by documentation.

In July, Case was convicted a second time by a new jury of grand larceny in the third degree.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman argued today that rather than re-imposing the five-year probation sentence Case got the first time around, she should be sent to prison.

"She still views herself as a victim in this case and absolutely continues to deny any responsibility," said Friedman in a statement prior to Case getting up to speak. "Your honor, it is our position that she is not an appropriate candidate for probation and that she should receive a sentence of incarceration."

And by incarceration, Friedman meant state prison, stating that local jail time would mean no period of parole after serving her time, making it harder for the county to collect restitution from her. Also, only a state prison term would expose her to programs that might benefit her rehabilitation.

To a degree, Noonan said he agreed with Friedman's position, however, he never discussed a state prison option. He spent more time weighing the differences between a sentence of probation and time in the county jail.

A harsher sentence than the first one, Noonan said, could be perceived as retribution for appealing her prior conviction and winning a new trial; however, Case's violation of probation, failure to make any restitution payments after her first conviction, suggests she's not a good candidate for probation.

Also, having sat through two trials and hearing the evidence twice, Noonan said the mere fact that Case continues to deny any wrongdoing could be a foundation for a harsher sentence.

Noonan, however, doesn't consider Case a threat to return to a life of crime.

He imposed five years probation, and with credit for time served, she is not likely to serve any more jail time if she complies with the terms of probation.

Case now lives in Erie County. Her oldest child is a freshman at a local university and her youngest is a freshman in high school. Her attorney said she has returned to factory work (what she did prior to becoming a nurse) at minimum wage (she said she earned $60,000 annually as a nurse).

Noonan noted that early on in this case, she was offered a disposition that would have allowed her to keep her nursing license, but she rejected it.

Friday, August 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

Two arrests reported at Linkin Park concert at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake performing arts center

The following people were arrested during the Linkin Park concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Joseph T. Roth, 19, of North Marion Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Dalton T. Carroll, 19, of Wheatfield Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Friday, August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

Law and Order: Felony DWI arrest at Darien Lake

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

Nancy Jo Sabourin, 54, of Henderson Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with felony DWI (two previous convictions within 10 years) and felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Sabourin was stopped at 10:24 p.m. Thursday in the Darien Lake driveway by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Sherika Kendra Dixon, 21, of Franklyn Avenue, Kingston, Jamaica, is charged with petit larceny. Dixon is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of using another person's ID when arrested at Darien Lake

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

Laura Anne Costa, 20, of Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Costa allegedly used another person's lost NYS driver's license as identification while being arrested on a trespass charged during a concert at Darien Lake on Aug. 16. The other person was subsequently identified in a news release as a person arrested at the concert, leading to the discovery of the alleged criminal impersonation.

Kodey R. Mills, 21, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Mills was stopped by Le Roy PD on Monday and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Robert Holland Cokely, 26, of Merrill Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, speeding, driving left of pavement markings and no/inadequate plate lamp. Cokely was stopped at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday on East Main Street, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Scott R. Booth Jr., 23, of Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Booth is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Andrea Baccas, 19, and Nellisia Pryce, 20, both of Jamaica, are charged with petit larceny. Baccas and Pryce are accused of shoplifting from Walmart. Both were jailed on $250 cash bail or $500 bond each.

Rebecca J. Cornell, 39, of Sand Hill Road, Caledonia, is charged with petit larceny. Cornell is accused of stealing clothing items from a store in the Village of Le Roy. Surveillance video was used to identify the suspect vehicle and the suspect and make an arrest.

Monday, August 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Law and Order: Le Roy man accused of string of abuse against former live-in girlfriend

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, pembroke, Stafford
Philip Adams

Philip L. Adams, 34, of 6580 Randall Road, Le Roy, is charged with stalking, 1st, criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, assault, 2nd, aggravated family offense and assault, 3rd. Adams was arrested following an investigation into complaints by a former live-in girlfriend that between December 2013 and May 2014 that Adams abused her. Adams allegedly pushed her onto hard pavement causing an injury (bruising on her arm), struck her in the face with a detachable shower head causing injury (bruising around her eye), sprayed her with a flammable liquid and threatened to light her on fire, and threatened to stick a lit cigarette in her eye. Adams was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Jennifer A. Wilsey, 34, of Canastota, is charged with criminal impersonation, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Wilsey is accused of providing troopers with a wrong name and date of birth during a traffic stop on Route 77, Pembroke. Wilsey reportedly believed there may have been a warrant for her arrest. She was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Daniel E. Gorrow, 19, of Gilbert Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Gorrow was charged following a traffic stop by Le Roy PD.

Taylor D. Saulsbury, 19, of Lake Street, Le Roy, and Henri E. Wilcox, 29, of North Main Street, Warsaw, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Saulsbury and Wilcox were charged following a traffic stop by Le Roy PD.

James Michael Gallo, 24, of Coshway Place, Tonawanda, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Gallo was arrested by Deputy Joseph Corona following an investigation into an altercation reported at 12:16 a.m. Sunday at 9993 Alleghany Road, Darien.

Steven Richard Lebo, 31, of Quincy Alley, Kearny, N.J., is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and moving from lane unsafely. Lebo was arrested by Deputy Joseph Corona following a report at 9:48 p.m. Saturday of a vehicle that left the roadway at 9993 Alleghany Road, Darien.

Nancy Alice Shruefer, 52, of Clover Place, Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Shruefer was found in a disabled vehicle on Route 77 near Darien Lake at 1:10 a.m. Sunday by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Melissa Grace Betances, 33, of Clinton Street, Batavia, is charged with a violation of probation. Betances was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Caitlin A. Hanley, 25, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Hanley is accused of being involved in a domestic incident on Aug. 9.

Ronald Baltasar Gonzalez, 29, of Spencer Court, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Following an investigation into firearms that were turned into Batavia PD, Gonzalez was charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Randy Gene Leach II, 28, of Torrey Road, Stafford, is charged with failure to pay fine. Leach was arrested on a warrant. He posted $250 bail and was released.

Laura C. Mazenga, 21, of Malling Drive, Rochester, is charged with trespass, petit larceny, resisting arrest and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Mazenga was allegedly seen rummaging through a vehicle on Woodrow Road at 2:26 a.m. Friday. When police approached, she allegedly fled and resisted arrest. She allegedly possessed property stolen from the vehicle.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Alleged drunken driver hits car on South Main, attempts to flee in damaged truck

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A family enjoying a gathering on South Main Street, Batavia had their evening spoiled by an alleged drunken driver who rammed into one family member's car and, according to witnesses, came darn close to killing another family member.

The incident occurred around 6:40 p.m.

The alleged drunken driver was westbound on South Main when his truck veered to the opposite side of the road and struck a parked car, badly damaging it.

About 50 members of Mark Fanara's family were in a tent at the side of his father's house on South Main when they heard the boom, Fanara said. They all rushed to the street and Fanara said he saw a truck rolling away from the car that was hit.

Then the driver hit the gas, he said, even though a front tire was completely bent to the side.

Fanara's aunt's car was parked behind the car that was struck. She had just gone to her car to get some money out of her purse and was at the driver's side door, bent over, at the time of the accident.

"If that car wasn't there (the one that was hit) he very easily could have struck my aunt," Fanara said. "It had to be only feet from here."

Fanara's brother -- it was his wife's car that was hit -- jumped in his car and followed the suspect vehicle on Dewey, through Birchwood, over to the car wash on South Pearl, where the driver parked his truck and began ditching items in his car. He also tried removing the license plates from his truck. He put on a sweatshirt with a hoodie.

When police arrived, he tried to flee on foot, but didn't get far.

Taken into custody was Bradley Howard, 23, of Mayville. He was charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation and unlawful possession of a hypodermic instrument, said Officer Chad Richards, along with 10 other charges.

A woman was in the truck at the time of the accident and she returned to the scene and gave officers a statement, Richards said.

Howard has a job locally, which is apparently why he was in Batavia, Richards said.

Among the items Howard allegedly discarded was a hypodermic needle, but no other contraband was recovered, Richards said.

"Several people were right there and called it right in," Richards said. "We had an overabundant number of witnesses, so it was easy to locate the subject."

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Deputies arrest 20 people at Luke Bryan conert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Luke Bryan concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday:

David P. Mayne, 28, of James Street, Medina, for is charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest after allegedly being involved in a physical altercation inside the concert venue after grabbing a acquaintance by the throat and punching her in the face. Mayne then allegedly resisted arrest. Mayne was arraigned in Darien Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Michael R. J. Fiumano, 20, of Glenn Avenue, Pulaski, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after he allegedly punched and pushed a Live Nation Security Officer.

Kassidy R. Watson, 19, of Lake Avenue, Hilton, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana and then attempted to conceal the evidence in her shirt.

Ariana M. Watson, 20, of Lighthouse Road, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Mark A. Buldyke, 22, of Amber Court, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence into the venue.

Kirstia M. Dlugosz, 19, of South Prince Drive, Depew, is charged with trespass after allegedly reenentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Stephen J. Hayes, 24, of Saya Road, Weedsport, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence onto the Darien Lake property.

Corey J. Hinman, 25, of Ryan Road, Weedsport, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence onto Darien Lake property.

Jacob R. Andol, 19, of East Blood Road, Cowlesville, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the medical tent inside the venue.

Lucas R. Logsdon, 19, of Dunkley Road, Leicester, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting inside the concert venue.

Trey G. Henderson, 22, of Terry Hills Drive, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with concert security while being ejected from the venue.

Samuel A. Musolino II, 23, of Hyde Park, Niagara Falls, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence into the concert venue.

(Name Redacted), 23, of Hillpine Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told on to return. (The person arrested was apparently using the ID of another individual, so the name has been redacted).

Jordan M. Coulson, 23, of McMurchy Avenue, South Brampton, Ontario, Canada, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence on Employee Road into the back area.

Danielle B. Russell, 19, of Floren Tine Way, Chili, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Matthew H. Coe, 22, of Route 62, Frewsburg, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence into the concert venue.

Ryan M. Hanes, 25, of Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with Live Nation Security.

David D. Carpes, 27, of Nelson Road, Clyde, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing a Live Nation Security Officer.

Bryan T. Mogle, 23, of Englewood Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Gabrielle L. Frey, 20, of Boyce Road, Corfu, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance on Sumner Road.

The following people were issued tickets for alleged possession of a fictious license:

Madeline L. Bissell, 19, of East Aurora
Michael A. Marcucci, 19, of Spencerport
Jon M. Tokar, 19, of Big Flats
Emily E. Shapiro, 19 of Buffalo
Anthony Martusciello, 20, of Spencerport

The following people were issued tickets for alleged possession of another person's license:

Eileen L. Argona, 19 of Niagara Falls
Franjo B. Tabar, 20, of Buffalo
William A. Sanchez, 29, of Spring Valley
Jordan Brandwood, 21, of Beemsville, Ontario, Canada

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Police respond to teens fighting on Jackson Street about Facebook comments

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Police responded to a report about 20 minutes ago of fighting on Jackson Street. Police Sgt. Chris Camp told Howard at the scene that two teens met there to fight over something posted on Facebook and they brought some backup and some others also showed up. The initial caller said about 20 youths were involved, but Camp said the total "was nothing like that."

Although one person was handcuffed at some point, no one is believed to have been arrested. The fracas has broken up and police are back in service.

CORRECTION: South Jackson, not Jackson.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

Law and Order: Traffic stop in Corfu yields drug-related arrest

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

John E. Sackett, 48, of 81 Falmouth St, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, unlawful possession of marijuana, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Sackett was stopped for allegedly speeding in the Village of Corfu by Officer Mike Petritz. Sackett was allegedly going 48 in a 35-mph zone and found to have 16 suspensions on his license. He was allegedly found with a small quantity of marijuana and a small baggie containing cocaine residue. Sackett was jailed on $1,000 bail or $1,000 bond.

Thomas James Rose, 18, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana. Rose was arrested following an investigation into a personal injury accident off a driveway on Valle Drive, Batavia, at 6:45 p.m. Aug. 3. The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

William Leslie Casinett II, 32, of Frontier Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with assault, 3rd. Casinett allegedly punched another person in the face causing physical injury at 9:30 p.m. July 29 while at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center.

Kirk Andrew Frye, 25, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Frye is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Kevin Albert Roberts, 23, of Riverstone Parkway, Canton, Ga., was arrested on warrants alleging criminal mischief, 3rd, petit larceny and unlawful possession of marijuana. Roberts was arrested in Georgia as a fugitive from justice and returned to Genesee County. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed without bail.

Stephen K. Mullen, 25, of Silver Springs, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Mullen was stopped by State Police at 2 a.m. Aug. 5 on Route 5, Stafford. No further details released.

Jacob R. Reinhardt, 51, of Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Reinhardt was stopped by State Police on Colby Road, Darien, at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday.

Steven P. Tubinis, 42, of Niagara Falls, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Tubinis was stopped at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday on Colby Road, Darien, by State Police.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Simmons found guilty of the Park Avenue burglary

post by Julia Ferrini in batavia, crime

Though staunch in his defense of Akeem Simmons, Defense Attorney Thomas Burns failed to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the 12 jurors tasked with hearing the case. Simmons was found guilty today on all three counts for which he was being tried.

The 23-year-old Batavia resident was found guilty of burglary in the first degree, a class B violent felony; criminal use of a firearm in the first degree; and conspiracy in the fourth degree. While Burns made a valiant attempt to poke holes in the prosecution's witness testimonies, the jury was not swayed in his client's favor.

"There is an irony that stands out," Burns said during closing arguments, "when you count the number of law enforcement that (18-year-old Nathaniel) Davis met, even before the trial, that he lied to about the events of that day (January 14, 2014).

"He came in, laid his hand on the Bible and swore to tell the truth and he lied," Burns continued.

Davis is also accused of first-degree burglary, and fourth-degree conspiracy. The Davis case is still pending.

Burns also noted that, according to Davis, there are lies, and then there are justifiable lies. 

Reasonable doubt and the lack of quality evidence were the key points in the defense attorney's closing argument. According to the defense, Davis himself admitted to breaking into the home on Park Avenue. Additionally, when Davis was nabbed by police, he was found carrying a loaded gun. Furthermore, Burns painted the investigation by police as somewhat lackadaisical.

"Did you (jury) hear any testimony about the house being searched for evidence?" Burns queried. "It was January in New York; where are the footprints? Was anything observed in the house?"

Burns also pointed out that there was no evidence that linked his client to the gun or the screwdriver used in the crime.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman countered with a recap of witness testimony. He stated that Simmons was seen with what looked like the grip of a gun, prior to the crime. 

The focus of the evidence has been on the flight from the area -- the path that ran along the back of the Park Avenue house to St. Paul's Church, Burns argued. He also stated that police K-9 Pharoah detected a strong scent that led the animal and handler, Deputy Brian Thompson, to the porch where Simmons was hiding.

Burns contended Simmons ran because of his knowledge of a warrant issued against him for a parole violation. Friedman continued reminding the jury that the trial was not about a parole violation, it was about placing Simmons at the scene of the crime and committing burglary. 

Conversely, when a search warrant was issued for Davis's phone, investigators found Simmons' number in Davis's list of contacts.

"There were no text messages or calls between Simmons and Davis," Burns said. "There was no communication between them on the phone at all. Not knowing about the phone records is a quality-of-evidence issue."

In the defense's pursuit to rebuke Friedman's witness testimony, Burns questioned a witness account of the events on the day of the burglary. He noted that her initial testimony indicated that only one person entered the Park Avenue home, and she was "pretty sure" they were black and about 5'7" or 5'8". The prosecution recalled the witness after the lunch break, whereupon she recanted her earlier testimony, and stated she saw two men enter and exit the house which is what she said in the call to 9-1-1 on Jan. 14.

Returning to Davis's testimony, Burns stated that even when Davis tried to put Simmons in the house, he still couldn't get his story straight. He contended that Davis said he lied because he was intimidated by Simmons; that he was afraid of what Simmons would do -- thus stated after notes were found where Simmons is said to have written that he "had a man killed in Elmira." The prosecution also made reference to said notes, but stated that Simmons' threat is indicative of consciousness of guilt.

Burns asked the jurors to consider Davis's demeanor on the stand, his lifestyle, his conflicting explanations, and how he justifies his lies; this goes to show a person's moral fiber. Drumming the idea into jurors' heads that Simmons only ran because of the parole warrant and Davis is a "scary pathological liar," he finalized his argument reminding jurors to follow the law as instructed by the court.

"If you have any doubt about Davis," Burns said. "Then you have reasonable doubt about Simmons' guilt.

"You're not being asked if he (Simmons) is a good or bad person or that he violated parole," Burns continued. "You are asked to determine if the district attorney proved beyond a reasonable doubt to my client's innocence."

"Judge (Robert) Noonan will tell you that the verdict is based on evidence, not speculation," Friedman said. "The evidence presented proves this beyond a reasonable doubt."

Speaking of the decision to use Davis's testimony, Friedman enlightened the jurors that a case can not be built solely on an accomplice's testimony -- corroborating evidence is also needed.

"You got that many times over in this case," Friedman said. "Don't get hung up solely on Davis's testimony. Look at all the evidence."

Friedman also refuted the idea that Davis received a deal for his willingness to testify. According to the D.A., they didn't need his testimony to prove the guilt of Simmons.

"Davis lied because he knew Simmons was a gang member," Friedman said. "That's why Davis wasn't willing at first to finger Simmons. 

"What does Davis have to gain by testifying against Simmons?" Friedman retorted.

Friedman inferred that if it wasn't enough that Simmons was a gang member and carries a gun, it was also intimidating when threatening notes were passed to Davis in the Genesee County Jail. Conversely, Simmons was said to have given Davis the idea that breaking into the house on Park Avenue was a way to get money because the homeowner was a drug dealer.

"Upon investigation, it was obvious that the homeowner was not selling drugs out of his home as Simmons indicated to Davis," the D.A. said.

The prosecution also questioned Simmons' honesty when he denied knowing Davis, yet Davis had his phone number in the contacts of his cell phone. Furthermore, when Simmons was questioned, he said a "kid" was involved in the burglary, however, police never stated the age of the subject. 

Simmons also admitted to wearing the clothes that witnesses said the men leaving the house were wearing, yet when he was found, Deputy Thompson witnessed Simmons pushing similar clothing away from him.

Additionally, Simmons puts himself on the path, going in the direction of the church, on the date and time the crime was committed. He even went so far as telling officers that he "saw two dudes in black running on the path."

"Think of the evidence the police had prior to Davis's testimony," Friedman said. "Using common sense, you (jury) will find that Simmons' innocence was proven wrong, therefore you must return a verdict of guilty."

Simmons is held without bail at the Genesee County Jail. He is scheduled for sentencing Sept.15 at 9:30 a.m..

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