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March 26, 2014 - 6:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Shane M. Bell

Shane Bell, accused of felony assault against a fellow patron of the The Harvester on Aug. 25, was found not guilty by a Genesee County jury.

The jury deliberated for about two hours this afternoon.

Bell admitted to hitting Scott Baker once. Baker suffered a serious head injury and was in a coma for a period of time and remains in a nursing home seven months later.

Though District Attorney Lawrence Friedman did speak with the jury briefly after the verdict, he said they didn't discuss the specifics of why they found Bell not guilty. It could have been the justification (self) defense or it could have been they didn't think Bell had the intent when he hit Baker to cause serious physical injury.

"Needless to say disappointed," Friedman said. "I believed in this case. It was certainly my belief that the defendant committed this crime. Obviously, I have to accept and respect the verdict of the jury."

William Tedford, who defended Bell out of the Public Defender's Office, said he felt they had a strong justification case.

"I think there were a lot of issues, but if you focus on the justification issue, even though you have other issues, and come to some kind of consensus on that -- not that it makes the other issues moot -- it does expedite the discussion some," Tedford said.

Tedford said it was also always part of the defense's case that the level of intoxication for Baker contributed to the outcome of the incident.

"I also think we presented enough evidence that my client lacked the intent, with only one punch, to cause serious physical harm," Tedford said. "It was highly unforeseeable that would cause the extent of the harm it did, and I think the jury realized that."

Friedman said he did find out from the jury that they found the video evidence presented very useful.

The video, recorded with audio, showed Bell minutes after the confrontation and captured most of his statements to police. The jury also saw video of Bell being interviewed at the police station, and though Bell sometimes contradicted himself on details, he repeatedly said he didn't think he hit Baker all that hard.

Friedman argued in his closing remarks that the video showed a man trying to cover his tracks, but neglecting to mention a key element of the justification defense -- that he felt threatened.

Regardless of the outcome, I think it's a very valuable tool," Friedman said. "As I said to them (the jury), for one thing, it's so much more helpful than just having the cold words written down. To see the person and how they're acting and what they're saying and how they're saying things. When they take a written statement from somebody, obviously, they don't take down everything they say. It's not really practical. It is helpful. I was glad to have it. Despite the outcome, I still think it was a good thing to have."

In his close, Tedford put much of the blame for the incident on Baker. Asked if he had anything to say to the family, Tedford answered, "Mr. Bell and I are both very sympathetic to his injuries and of course we're very apologetic for what he and the family are going through. I know Mr. Bell and I both strongly believe and agree with the verdict, but his injuries are extremely unfortunate and we've very apologetic."

Tedford said his client, who has been in jail for seven months, was thrilled with the verdict.

"I think he's excited to get home and see his dog and have a home-cooked meal," Tedford said.

March 26, 2014 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Shane M. Bell

The first thing District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told the jurors when he stepped up to offer his closing arguments in the Shane Bell felony assault case is that there is at least one thing he and defense attorney William Tedford agree on.

And that is what the jurors must decide during their deliberations, which started this afternoon.

First, did Shane Bell cause serious physical injury to Scott Baker the night of Aug. 25 outside The Harvester bar on Harvester Avenue, Batavia. Second, did Bell intend to cause serious physical injury to Baker. Three, was Bell justified in hitting Baker because he felt Baker posed a threat.

And that is pretty much all Tedford and Friedman agree on. Their closing arguments offered up differing interpretations on every aspect of the case.

On the question of the seriousness of the injuries, Tedford questioned whether it was Bell's punch that caused Baker to go into a coma. 

He said Dr. Gregory T. Bennett testified that he "couldn't tell you which injury caused the coma. Was it the back of the head, the front? He couldn't tell you for sure if it was both. That, ladies and gentleman is reasonable doubt."

Friedman took a different view, first citing the anticipated jury instructions that the law would require them to find that Bell's actions were a contributory cause, an action that forged a link, brought about the injury or set in motion a chain of events that caused the injury.

A defense witness, Friedman noted, Curtis Gallagher, said that Bell threw a strong, straight jab with a follow through. Recorded evidence presented at trial showed Bell offering contradictory statements about how he hit Baker. Sometimes he said he used a fist, sometimes he said it was an open-handed slap.

Baker suffered a facial fracture and broken nose. 

When he was hit, according to the testimony of both Gallagher and his girlfriend, Joslyn Hyland, who was called by the prosecution, he fell straight back, straight as a board, hitting his head on the pavement.

The straight, hard jab is more likely the truth of how Bell hit Baker, Friedman said.

"He hit him hard enough to cause serious, traumatic brain injury," Friedman said.

The only intent Shane Bell had the night of Aug. 25, Tedford said, was to find his keys and leave the Harvester.

He had seen Baker dancing with his girlfriend, and told police it didn't bother him. Baker had tried to pick a fight with him, Tedford said, and Bell ignored him. Baker threatened him, Tedford said, and Bell did nothing.

"Baker threatens him first," Tedford said. "He became the initial aggressor."

It was only after all of this, when Bell was trying to leave, and Baker followed him across the street and grabbed him, did Bell turn and hit Baker.

Tedford recounted a statement Bell made to police.

"I don't know what Scott Baker is going to do. I don't know him that well. I just wanted to get out of there. I didn't mean to knock him out. I hope he's OK."

Bell's actions after he hit Baker, Tedford said, shows a man with no intent to seriously injure anybody. Bell, he said, moved Baker out of harm's way, out of the darkened roadway, and onto grass. He tried to revive him. He was nothing but cooperative with police.

"It was Scott Baker's choice to go across the street," Tedford said. "Per what Mr. Friedman told you during jury selection, people should be accountable and responsible for their own choices." 

Witnesses said Bell told Baker, "You better be coming over here to smoke a bowl with me or you're going to get knocked out."

That wasn't a threat, Tedford said, it's the way the kind of people who frequent The Harvester would try to defuse a situation.

"That is a warning to the initial aggressor," Tedford said. "If you continue to put me in this situation, if you continue to threaten me, if you continue to follow me across the street, I'm going to be left with no other alternative except to defend myself."

Friedman had a very different take on the statement. 

That statement was made twice, Friedman said. First, as an invitation to actually smoke some marijuana and then followed by the threat of hitting Baker if he had any other intention than smoking a bowl.

"It was an attempt to lure Baker across the street, away from the people who were with him in order to knock him out," Friedman said.

Friedman took issue with the defense contention that Baker posed a threat to Bell.

"They portray him as a bumbling drunk at the same time they want you to believe that this same Scott Baker posed a serious threat to Shane Bell that night," Freidman said.

Friedman recalled statements by Bell to police such as, "I wasn't in a mood to play," and about his experience with kickboxing and that he's "f--'d people up" in the past.

"When the defendant punched Scott Baker the way he did, he knew the nature of the consequences of that punch, and that exactly what he knew would happen did happen," Friedman said. "Scott Baker suffered a serious physical injury just as the defendant intended."

All of the evidence, Tedford said, points to his client being justified in hitting Baker. Baker had taunted him, threatened him, danced with his wife and tried to follow him to his car.

Once that evidence has been established, Tedford said, it's up to the prosecution to prove a self-defense justification doesn't exist, and Tedford said he didn't believe the people had made that case.

If Baker threatened Bell, Friedman said, why did Bell not once mention the threats to police during the taped interviews.

"He never once said he heard Scott Baker say a word about a knife," Friedman said. "He never said he heard Scott Baker say anything about murdering him, stabbing him, kicking his ass. Don't you think that's one thing, if he was thinking about saving his own skin, he would have told police?"

If he didn't hear those threats, Friedman said, then how are they relevant to a self-defense claim? If he did hear them and didn't mention them, then he must have taken them as empty threats, not as something he felt he needed to defend himself against. 

"I would submit to you that by the defendant's own words you hear on those recordings, he clearly was not afraid of Scott Baker," Friedman said. 

The defense, Friedman said, contends that Baker could have walked away, well, so could have Shane Bell. But he didn't. If he felt threatened, he could have called the police. But he didn't. 

"Of course he didn't, because there was no real threat," Friedman said.

Bell was angry, Friedman said. He was angry because he couldn't find his keys. He was angry because Baker had danced with his girlfriend. He was angry because his girlfriend had left. And he took it out on Baker, Friedman said.

"Baker is the person who suffered the consequences of the defendant's pent-up anger," Friedman said. 

He was still angry, Friedman said, when he saw Gallagher and Hyland sitting in a nearby truck and he walked up to them and said, "Someone took my keys. They are f--king with me. You didn't see shit."  

That, Friedman said, was the statement of a man with a guilty conscious, who knew he had done wrong, who knew he had intentionally hit another person hard enough to knock him out.

"He knew he was wrong. He knew he wasn't justified. He knew he didn't want any witnesses."

The case is now in the hands of the jury.

Previously:

March 26, 2014 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, College Village.

A security guard at College Village has been arrested by State Police for allegedly entering apartments and stealing undergarments and swimsuits.

Matthew P. Lenhard, 28, of Corfu, has been charged with six counts of burglary, 2nd, a Class C felony, and one count of criminal possession of stolen property, 5th.

The NYSP criminal investigation unit took up the case after receiving a complaint through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

State Police say several pieces of garments were recovered at Lenhard's residence in Corfu.

The press release contains the following statement attributed to the director of College Village: "We are assuring students that safety is our top priority. We are encouraging students to bring any concerns they might have to members of our staff, or to discuss safety issues with our staff."

Lenhard was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

March 26, 2014 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Shane M. Bell

Scott Baker was hit hard enough the night of Aug. 25 that he suffered fractured bones in his face and a broken nose, a doctor testified today in the trial of Shane Bell in Genesee County Court.

Baker also hit his head on the pavement, which caused a small amount of bleeding in his brain.

The two traumas must be taken together said Dr. Gregory T. Bennett, clinical director of ECMC Neurology, as the cause of Baker's subsequent coma.

"We know it's all linked," Bennett said. "It's shock waves that go through the tissue."

When Baker arrived at ECMC, after being initially treated at UMMC, both hemispheres of his brain were "silent," Bennett said. "That is what causes a coma."

Bell is charged with felony assault. The jury is being asked to determine whether Bell intended to cause serious physical injury to Baker during an altercation outside the The Harvester bar on Harvester Avenue.

The 51-year-old Baker remains in nursing home care seven months after the incident. Bennett said it is impossible to predict whether he will ever recover. As a person over 30 years old, his chances of recovery from significant brain trauma are much less than it would be for a child.

"There is a significant risk that a person who is in a deep coma will never recover," Bennett said.

For the first week after the injury, there is significant risk of death, Bennett said.

When Baker was first admitted in the emergency room at UMMC, there was almost enough alcohol in his system to cause a coma. The level was 282 parts per deciliter. A person could potentially be in a coma at 300 parts per deciliter. A level between 150 and 250 could cause lethargy.

While Bennett said he didn't see the UMMC report when Baker was admitted to the trauma unit at ECMC, he said doctors knew he had been in a fight at night outside a bar, so it was assumed he had been drinking.

Since there's a risk associated with a brain pressure monitor, Bennett said doctors won't start the monitor on a person with a head injury who may have been drinking. Bennett said he decided to observe Baker for six hours to see if he would come out of the coma on his own before attaching the monitor.

Baker was still in a coma after an hour, so the monitor was attached.

There was no surgery that could be performed to deal with the brain trauma, Bennett said. His facial fracture was "non-displaced," meaning the bone would heal on its own without surgery. The broken nose did not require surgery, but splits were used to align the cartilage so it would heal correctly.

Bennett, during cross-examination, testified about the damage alcohol can do to the human brain.

"It's never therapeutic," Bennett said.

Even red wine's benefits for heart health is so minimal, that he never recommends it for a person with any level of heart disease. There are medications that are hundreds of times more effective in care.

Any amount of alcohol consumption over time cause damage to brain tissue. It causes atrophy.

A person who has brain atrophy from alcohol has even less of a chance of recovery from brain trauma, Bennett said.

Baker had no brain atrophy, Bennett said.

After Bennett's testimony, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said the prosecution rests its case.

With the jury out of the room, defense attorney William Tedford made a motion to dismiss the case, saying that the people had failed to prove Bell intended to cause serious physical injury to Baker and that there is sufficient evidence that Bell reacted in self defense when he hit Baker.

Friedman disagreed with both assertions.

"Mr. Tedford has just given his summation," Friedman said. "Those are issues for the jury to decide."

Judge Tom Moran, substituting for Robert Noonan, who is hearing a case in Monroe County, said he would reserve his decision.

The morning testimony came from defense witness Robert Tedford, a City of Batavia firefighter and medic, who treated Baker at the scene and rode in the ambulance with him to UMMC.

Robert Tedford is the older brother of attorney William Tedford.

Robert Tedford testified that when he arrived on scene, a black male was cradling Baker, crying, and saying, "I can't believe they did this to you. Hold on. Don't go to the light."

The man delayed the attempt by medics to begin treatment on Baker.

Robert Tedford testified that there was an odor of alcohol around Baker, which was particularly pronounced inside the ambulance. He also testified that just smelling an alcoholic beverage gives him no indication how much alcohol the patient might have consumed.

The second defense witness was Curtis Gallagher, who initially testified that Baker "tried to grab" Bell and that he touched Baker. Under cross-examination by Friedman, he admitted that in previous statements, he did not mention seeing, with certainty, Baker touch Bell.

"I couldn't tell if he touched him on his shoulder," Gallagher said. "He put his hands up like he was going to."

He also confirmed prior testimony that when Bell started to cross the street, he told Baker, "You better be coming over here to smoke a bowl with me or you're going to get knocked out."

During his direct testimony, Gallagher only said, "You better be coming over here to smoke a bowl," and tried to testify that he believed Bell was implying consequences if that wasn't the case.

More than once, Judge Moran needed to remind Gallagher not to inject his opinion into his testimony.

Gallagher initially testified that he heard Baker say he had a knife and was going to stab Bell, but under cross, Gallagher said he only heard Baker say he had a knife at home and that he would go get it.

During cross, Friedman asked numerous questions about Gallagher's prior criminal record, which includes two felony convictions for the sale of drugs.

After Gallagher's testimony, the defense rested.

Atfter the jury left the court room, the attorneys and the judge discussed jury instructions. Friedman argued that there wasn't sufficient evidence presented for the jury to be instructed on justification (self-defense). Tedford argued that it's a low standard for the defense and that the evidence should be considered in the light most favorable to the defense. Moran agreed with Tedford.

The attorneys will present closing arguments after lunch.

March 25, 2014 - 4:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.
Shane M. Bell

The videotaped police interview of defendant Shane Bell resumed after today's lunch break in his trial for alleged second-degree felony assault outside The Harvester bar around 9 p.m. in August.

The victim, 51-year-old Scott Baker, remains in the Genesee County Nursing Home since his release from Erie County Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit in which he was comatose for a couple of months.

The crux of the case is whether Bell intended to harm Baker as seriously as he did when the right-hander gave him a single southpaw punch to the temple. If he had wanted to inflict serious injury, he would have used his right hand, Bell told police.

In the videotape with Det. Pat Corona, Bell appears cooperative as he speaks in a somewhat herky-jerky fashion, with a gravelly voice, his English peppered with expletives.

When asked "What did Scott Baker do?" The answer is simply "He wanted to fight."

Bell left the bar to look for his lost car keys and says "I'm walking forward. He brushed me. Second touch -- that was it. I didn't know if he had a knife ... or what."

The interviewer and interviewee examine the latter's hands and arms for scratches and blood.

"Were you angry?" Corona asks.

"No. ... He had the balls to get up and I'm a quarter way across the room and he chest bumps me. Thought maybe it was a drunk bump, but then he followed me across the street," Bell says, finishing the statement with a slight shrug.

After the blow -- which caused the victim to buckle and fall, striking his head on the pavement -- Bell says "I tried to help him. That's why there's blood on my pants. I picked his head up (makes a cradling gesture). Made sure he was breathing. ... He went into shock is what it was."

When questioned about his familiarity with Baker, Bell says "I knew who he was" and that he ran into him maybe five times a year.

In the moments before the altercation, he said he thought "Somebody's fuckin' with me. ... He's playin' like he's gonna kick my ass -- walkin' across the street to me. Maybe I shoulda let him knock me down -- but at the time you don't think like that."

The clock in the police office reads 12:59 a.m. at the conclusion of the interview.

After the video ended, Bell's attorney, Billy Tedford, cross-examined Corona and asked if he had been to the scene prior to the interview ("yes") and if he saw Baker there ("no"). Baker had been transported to the hospital by then. Corona testified that he only spoke with other law enforcement personnel at the scene.

Bell's attorney elicited that Bell had already been given his Miranda warnings; he did not ask for an attorney; he spoke freely and was cooperative at police headquarters.

The People subsequently called Diane Baker, Scott's mother, to testify.

Under questioning from District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, she told the jurors that she first visited her seriously injured son two days after the incident and he was in a coma. She said she continued to visit him twice a week and that he came out of the coma in October and was transferred to the nursing home where he remains, hooked up to a feeding tube. She said that at no point has she been able to communicate with her son about the night in question.

She was not cross-examined.

The jury was dismissed early. The case resumes at 9:15 Wednesday morning and the doctor who treated Baker is slated to testify.

Previously: Man accused of assault outside The Harvester told police he didn't hit victim as hard as he could

March 25, 2014 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Shane M. Bell

The man accused of assault outside The Harvester told police he didn't hit victim as hard as he could.

In statements captured on a police officer's body camera, a man accused of assaulting a fellow bar patron describes being badgered and bothered by the man he later hit.

Shane Bell doesn't deny hitting Scott Baker the night of Aug. 25 outside the Harvester bar on Harvester Avenue, Batavia. At issue in the trial is whether Bell intended to seriously injure Baker.

Bell is charged with assault in the second degree, a Class D felony, which means the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury.

Baker was apparently struck by Bell and fell to the ground, hitting his head on pavement. He was in a coma for a period of time following the incident.

According to Bell's statements captured on the officer's recording, Baker repeatedly pestered Bell and danced some, even closely, with his wife, though Bell said that didn't bother him.

"He just came up to me like a barfly three times and I just gave him a hug," Bell is recorded saying.

Bell also admits to being upset because he believed somebody had stolen his keys from the bar at The Harvester, which was hosting an annual party that day and a lot of people had been at there throughout the day.

Officer Arick Perkins -- then with Batavia PD, now with the Livingston County Sheriff's Office -- was wearing a police department issued body camera when he arrived on scene after the alleged assault was reported. He used it to record some of his initial conversation with Bell.

Bell admits to hitting him, but said he didn't think he hit him hard enough to hurt him seriously.

"I bitch-slapped him," he says at one point, and "I hit him so f---ing soft, it isn't even funny." He also says, "I hit him half-medium."

Later at the police station, Bell brags about being a kickboxer for 16 years and says he could have seriously hurt Baker if he wanted. He claims to have hit Baker with his left hand rather than his right, saying he was right-handed. The camera captures Bell showing his left fist to Perkins.

"Believe me if I wanted to have taken him out earlier, I could have taken him out earlier," Bell tells Perkins.

According to Jolyn Hyland, the first witness called in the trial, Bell came out of the bar shortly after she and her boyfriend pulled up to the parking lot driveway just south of the bar. Hyland said from the passenger side of the vehicle, she was able to observe what happened and hear some of the conversation.

When Bell came out of the bar, Baker, she said, mumbled something Bell.

Bell responded, she said, saying "I'm looking for my keys. You better not f--- with me."

Baker, she said, then threatened Bell, saying he had a knife at home and that he would go home and get it.

Bell, she said, walked across the street and Baker followed.

In the recording, Bell said Baker grabbed his shoulder and he turned around and hit Baker.

Hyland said Bell hit Baker in the face and followed through with the swing of the punch. She said it looked like Bell hit Baker hard and fast.

She heard Baker's head hit the pavement with a crack.

She said she saw a white car heading southbound on Harvester and at that point, Bell grabbed Baker by his legs, she said, and dragged him onto the grass next to the sidewalk.

She said Bell tapped Baker on the face several times, saying, "Wake up. Wake up. It was just one punch."

In the videotape, Bell -- who said he had medic training in the Marines -- said he took Baker's pulse and that it was 85.

When Perkins arrived outside the Harvester, he said he found Baker lying on the ground and observed blood above his right eye.

Det. Pat Corona was called to the scene. In his testimony before the lunch break, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman displayed a number of crime scene photos, including photos of blood on the pavement and on the grass, that Corona authenticated.

The jury was also shown a photo of Baker in the hospital, in intensive care, with a swollen and bruised face.

Friedman then showed a video made at the police station of Bell giving a statement to Corona.

Bell repeats several times that he didn't hit Baker hard. He demonstrates once or twice how he used the back of his open left hand as part of a turning, sweeping motion, and once demonstrates hitting Baker with a closed fist.

Bell's statements are disjointed and he says a number of times that the whole incident isn't really clear in his own mind as to what happened.

At one point, he pulls the back of his tank top shirt to show how Baker grabbed him before he turned around and struck Baker.

Corona will still be on the stand, and there's more of the interview recording for the jury to view, after the lunch break. Billie Owens will post a story about the afternoon of the trial later tonight.

March 24, 2014 - 7:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Bruce Jeramie Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd, and seven counts of forgery, 2nd. Brade allegedly stole checks from his grandmother over the course of several months in 2013 while he was living with her. The value of the checks allegedly totaled $3,680. Brade was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Landon Wayne Carroll, 32, of Buell Street, Akron, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Carroll was stopped at 12:32 a.m. Saturday on Oak Street, Batavia, by Officer Chad Richards.

Samantha L .Tennity, 19, of Hall Street, Batavia, was arrested on a City Court Warrant. No further details released. Tennity was reported by the Sheriff's Office, also, as being arrested on a bench warrant from Town of Batavia Court. She was jailed on $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond.

Tiffany M. Neal, 22, of 115 State St., upper, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Police responded to a call for assistance at Neal's residence and allegedly found Neal and her 1-year-old child living in "deplorable conditions." Neal was issued an appearance ticket. DSS assisted in the investigation.

Joshua L. Baltz, 37, of Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Baltz is accused of shoplifting from Kwik Fill.

Lauralee Pacer, 28, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment. Pacer allegedly sent a man she knew 75 "unwanted and annoying text messages that served no legitimate purpose."

Samantha A. Bowles, 24, of East Main Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine from a previous conviction on disorderly conduct. Bowles was jailed on $200 bail.

Joey Aaron Evans, 23, of State Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to comply with drug court. Evans was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Chiyannon J. Bundy, 26, of Main Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to appear. Bundy was jailed on $200 bail.

Kyle Robert Washington, 24, of South Lake Road, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, public appearance under the influence of a narcotic or drug, and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public highway. Washington was arrested at 11:59 p.m. Saturday at 572 E. Main St., Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Tracy Lee Moore, 47, of Asbury Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, refusal to take breath test and failure to keep right. Moore was stopped 2:08 a.m. Sunday on Oak Orchard Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Dalton Allan Long, 19, of West Main Street, Caledonia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Long is accused of possessing property that was reported stolen in Oakfield in September 2013.

Jeffrey L. Smith, 44, of Vinton Road, Irondequoit, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Smith is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart. Smith reportedly left in a vehicle and was located later, allegedly in possession of stolen property.

Michael Francis Hurley, 42, of Marine Drive, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and insufficient headlamps. Hurley was stopped at 1:22 a.m. Tuesday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy James Diehl.

March 21, 2014 - 5:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia PD is looking for the public's assistance in identifying the driver of a hit-and-run vehicle that struck a residence at 219 Liberty St., Batavia, at 9:11 p.m. Thursday.

The car is described as a silver or light blue front- four-door sedan. It will likely have heavy front-end damage, especially on the driver's side front.

It was last seen heading southbound on Liberty Street.

Anyone with information is asked to call Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350.

March 21, 2014 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia PD has completed its investigation into a Nov. 29 accident at Oak and Richmond that injured six people and have charged one of the drivers with felony driving while under the influence of drugs.

Michael I. Sanders, 46, of 22 Columbia Ave., Batavia, is charged with DWAI Drugs, with a prior conviction within 10 years, vehicle assault, 1st, and vehicle assault causing serious physical injury.

He was arraigned on the charges and jailed without bail.

Investigators filed the charges against Sanders after receiving the results of toxicology tests, which allegedly indicated Sanders was under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision.

Two vehicles and two pedestrians were involved in the accident, with six people being transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

March 21, 2014 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Bed Bath & Beyond.

It appears -- though not certain at this stage of the ongoing investigation -- that the fire that heavily damaged Bed, Bath & Beyond's store in Batavia in January was deliberately set, according to Investigator Kris Kautz, of the Sheriff's Office.

Kautz is requesting the public's help in identifying people who were in the store that day so they can be interviewed. He's looking to identify the four people in these photos because he would like to talk with them.

None of the four are considered suspects.

In fact, the Sheriff's Office has a person of interest in the case, but still needs to gather more evidence.

"We have no proof of his actions, if in fact he's involved at all," Kautz said, "but there is an individual in video footage who appears consistent with a known individual we are looking at."

Kautz acknowledges these four pictures are low quality, but it's all he has to work with. They are still photos shot of a video monitor screen.

Sometimes people can recall things that seem unimportant to them, but would be important to the case.

"Any of these people might remember this or that or they can say 'I saw a guy,' " Kautz said. "You never know. This is a fishing trip as we call it in the business. Sometimes people know stuff they don't know is important. Sometimes all they need is a little prodding to know what they know."

The retail store in Batavia Towne Center has been closed for months and officials say it will be a long time yet before it reopens.

Investigator Kautz can be reached by calling the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000. He's hoping people who recognize themselves will call him, or perhaps a friend, neighbor or relative might recognize somebody and provide Kautz with the identity.

March 20, 2014 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Darien.
Tyquawn D. Bethel

Tyquawn D. Bethel, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal trespass, 2nd, and petit larceny. Officers were dispatched to an address on Prune Street for a report of an argument at 10:06 p.m. Tuesday. Bethal allegedly entered the residence uninvited and refused to leave. Bethal allegedly argued with a person at the residence. He allegedly grabbed money from the purse of the resident and then attempted to leave with the money. When patrols arrived, Bethal was allegedly combative with officers and refused to comply with verbal commands. Bethal allegedly initiated a fight with the officers. Children were allegedly present during the scuffle. He was subdued and taken into custody. Bethal was jailed on $2,500 bail. The investigation was handled by Officer Kevin DeFelice and Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Robert L. Peachey Jr., 30, of Gibson Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Peachey is accused of stealing a bottle of Jack Daniel's Honey from YNGodess on Feb. 28. (Previously)

Shaumyk Antonio Santiago, 21, of St. Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with burglary. Santiago is accused of forcing entry into a residence on Tinkham Drive, Darien, on or about Dec. 27, and stealing handguns, cash, jewelry and other property. Santiago was arraigned, released on his own recognizance and turned over to another police agency on unrelated criminal charges. A second arrest in the case is pending. The investigation was conducted by Investigator William Ferrando and Sgt. Ron Meides.

Christopher M. Colantonio, 34, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. Colantonio was arrested on a bench warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Elizabeth A. Denise, 33, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Denise turned herself in. She was released on $100 bail.

Kevin R. Baumgarte, 39, of Birchwood, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, passing a red light, leaving scene of a property damage accident and failure to keep right. Baumgarte was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident on South Main Street at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Batavia patrols subsequently located Baumgarte. The accident was investigated by Officer Eric Foels.

Micahel Samuel Yamonaco, 41, of Trumbull Street, Mount Morris, Kathleen Melissa Pritchard, 35, of Spartan Drive, Farmington, Aaron Michael Higgins, 34, of Genesee Street, Piffard, and Miranda Ariene Ralston, 27, of Genesee Street, Piffard, are all charged with grand larceny, 4th. The four suspects are accused of stealing a TV from the Batavia Walmart. They were arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and found with the allegedly stolen TV. 

March 19, 2014 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford.
Corey Snyder

Corey S. Snyder, of Route 33, Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, unlawful possession of marijuana and operating with no front bumper. Snyder's vehicle was stopped by Village of Attica PD on Route 99, Attica, at 10 p.m. Monday for an alleged traffic violation. He was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance, hypodermic instruments and marijuana paraphernalia. He was also charged in connection to an allegation that he cashed a check that had been reported stolen. Snyder was arraigned and jailed in Wyoming County Jail on $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

Gregory Allan Merritt, 27, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and unsafe starting. Merritt is accused of striking another vehicle in the T.F. Brown's parking lot at 1:49 a.m. Tuesday and leaving the scene of the accident. The incident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

March 17, 2014 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Pavilion.

John S. Dueppengiesser, 53, of Page Road, Perry, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Dueppengiesser is accused of stealing more than $3,000 worth of steel from a business on Route 63 in Pavilion during a night in February. Dueppengiesser was arraigned and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. The case was investigated by deputies Bradley Mazur, John Duyssen and Joseph Loftus. Deputies from Livingston County and Wyoming County assisted in the investigation.

Ashley Anne Dunham, 24, of Edward Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to keep right and speeding (69 in a 55 mph zone). Dunham was stopped at 2:25 a.m. Sunday on Hartshorn Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Alicia Susan Hough, 22, of Bridge Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speed not reasonable and prudent and moved from lane unsafely. Hough was reportedly involved in a property damage accident at 7:35 a.m. Friday on Norton Road, Elba. The accident was investigated by Deputy John Weis.

Iesha Marie Vetter, 21, of Royce Road, Varysburg, was arrested on a warrant for alleged petit larceny. Vetter turned herself in on the warrant. She was jailed on $500 bail.

Brent E. Keheley, 34, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to answer summons. Keheley was arrested on a warrant and taken to BPD headquarters where he was released upon posting $260 police bail.

Ricky A. Leach, 33, of Central Avenue, Batavia, harassment, 2nd. Leach is accused of hitting a woman in the stomach during an altercation on State Street at 10 p.m. Thursday. Leach was released to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office on a warrant.

March 14, 2014 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Demetrius Richardson Dajuandrick Gardner Diana Bloom

Three separate investigations by the Local Drug Task Force have led to the arrest of three Batavia residents suspected of dealing crack cocaine in the city.

Arrested where:

  • Demetrius W. "G" Richardson, 33, of East Main Street, Batavia, charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd.
  • Dajuandrick C. "Omega" Gardner, 37, of East Avenue, Batavia, charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd.
  • Diana L. Bloom, 57, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Richardson allegedly sold cocaine to undercover agents Sept. 12 while on Jackson Street and again on Sept. 20 while on Pringle Avenue.

Gardner allegedly sold cocaine to undercover agents Nov. 22 while on State Street, Jan. 2 while on State Street and Jan. 15 while on State Street.

Bloom allegedly sold cocaine to undercover agents while at her residence at 117 State St. on Oct. 30 and again Oct. 31.

All three were arrested on sealed indictments within the past week. Their arrests were announced today.

All three were arraigned in County Court and Richardson was jailed on $50,000, Gardner on $75,000 bail and Bloom was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Assisting in the investigation and arrest were uniformed Batavia PD officers, Genesee County deputies, NYS Parole and the District Attorney's Office.

March 14, 2014 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, STOP-DWI.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Program announced today that Genesee County police agencies will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 15th and will end on March 18th. St. Patrick’s Day week is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. This year St. Patrick’s Day is on a Monday and that will extend the weekend until Tuesday for many people. The New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies will collaborate across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths during this period.

Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch stated, “The City of Batavia Police Department encourages everyone celebrating to do so safely and have a designated driver. Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend.”

Genesee County Undersheriff William Sheron stated, “St. Patrick's Day is well known as of day of celebration. Please celebrate responsibly. Avoid tragedy; Don't plan on the luck of the Irish, arrange for a designated driver.

The St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers stated, "Enforcement efforts like these have contributed to the steady decline in DWI accidents since the program was established. Families in Genesee County are safer while traveling the roads with a program like STOP-DWI funding extra patrols by our fine law enforcement professionals."

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. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

March 13, 2014 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford.

Douglas James Hanley, 23, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to stop at stop sign and aggravated unlicensed operation. Hanley, while driving a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 10:59 p.m. Feb. 1 on Prole Road, Stafford. Hanley's vehicle reportedly hit a tree. Hanley was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. The accident was investigated by Deputy Frank Bordonaro.

Adam Matthew Shultz, 31, of Fargo Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Shultz was stopped at 3:01 a.m. Tuesday on Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Bonnie S. Oleandi, 44, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. The reason for the warrant was not released. Oleandi was jailed on $100,000 bail.

A 17-year-old from Batavia was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. The youth was allegedly found with a controlled substance for which he didn't have a prescription following an investigation by school personnel at Batavia High School.

Charles P. Mitchell, 34, of Sanders Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal contempt. Mitchell allegedly violated an order of protection by sending text messages to the protected person.

March 12, 2014 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Phillip Daniel Burrs, 32, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Burrs is accused of stealing a can of beer from the Hess Express at Main and Oak streets, Batavia. Burrs was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $500 bail. (Burrs was charged with DWI following an alleged bank robbery by a passenger in his vehicle in Batavia on Jan. 18.)

Philip J. Grazioplene, 44, of South Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and passing a red light. Grazioplene was stopped at 3:07 a.m., on East Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Darenisha M. Thomas, 18, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and harassment, 2nd. Thomas is accused of attacking a fellow student at Batavia High School.

March 10, 2014 - 10:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Attica, crime, Le Roy, corfu.
Tonia Doell

Tonia M. Doell, 44, of 14 Vine St., Batavia, is charged with three counts of menacing, 2nd, one count of criminal possession of a weapon, and one count of attempted assault, 2nd. Doell is accused of requesting medical assistance at 2:21 p.m. and when Mercy EMS personnel arrived at her residence and attempted to enter, Doell allegedly threatened them with a kitchen knife. Doell was arraigned and jailed without bail.

Jason D. Lang, 27, and Ashley R. Keene, 26, both of 244 Liberty St., Batavia, are charged with grand larceny, 4th. Lang and Keene are accused of stealing 10 pairs of eyeglass frames valued at more than $1,600 from the Lencrafters location in Hamburg. Hamburg detectives received several calls identifying Lang and Keene as the suspects after police posted pictures of the shoplifting suspects on Facebook and Buffalo media outlets picked up the story. Upon further investigation, Lang and Keene were asked to appear at Hamburg PD and did so voluntarily. Hamburg detectives report that Lang and Keene confessed to the theft. They were issued appearance tickets.

Pamela Kristene Goerss, 43, of Oak Hill Road, Silver Springs, is charged with DWI, speed not reasonable and prudent, unlicensed operator, leaving the scene of an accident and parked in roadway. Goerss was reportedly operating a 2011 Volkswagan Jetta southbound on Perry Road at 3:16 a.m. Sunday when she was involved in an accident. The other vehicle left the scene. Goerss also allegedly tried to drive away from the scene, but her vehicle became disabled. The Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the other vehicle and driver. Anybody with information can contact Deputy Frank Bordonaro at (585) 343-5000. Goerss was jailed on $500 bail.

Brian Lee Smith, 52, of Colonial Boulevard, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and aggravated family offense, a felony. Smith is accused of yelling a vulgar word at the victim, who has an active order of protection in place, Smith allegedly yelled at the victim while she was in her own driveway. Smith was jailed on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

Bryan R. Bartholomew, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Bartholomew allegedly violated an order of protection by being at the residence of the protected party. Bartholomew was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Matthew D. Derrick, 29, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Derrick is accused of being involved in a domestic incident March 6.

Dariel A. Giffith, 21, of Jackson Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Griffith is accused of striking another person in the hand during a dispute on South Swan Street at 4:56 p.m. March 6.

Jon David Vega, 48, of 78th Street, Howard Beach, was arrested on two bench warrants for alleged failure to appear. Vega was arrested upon his release from the Monroe County Jail on unrelated charges. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Christina M. Colantonio, 27, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is accused of failure to appear after appearance ticket served. Colantonio was located walking westbound on West Main Street near Union Street by Officer James DeFreze and she was arrested on an active warrant. Colantonio posted $500 bail and was released.

Heather Daffney Stone, 19, of Elwood Drive, Rochester, was arrested on a bench warrant related to a third-degree burglary charge. Stone was released from Monroe County Jail on an unrelated matter and taken into custody on the burglary charge. Stone was held without bail.

Johnny Uylesse Troche, 28, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. Troche allegedly threatened another person with a knife at 9:26 p.m. Saturday.

Francisco Rodriguez, 37, of Portland Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes. Rodriguez was stopped at 8:43 p.m. Saturday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, for alleged failure to dim high beams by Deputy Joseph Corona. Rodriguez was allegedly found in possession of more untaxed cigarettes than legally allowed.

Christina Sandra Baudanza, 37, no address given, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. Baudanza was arrested upon her release from the Wyoming County Hospital. She was arraigned in Family Court and released to a social service worker who took her to temporary housing.

Katie Lee Winnie, 20, of Exchange Street, Attica, was arrested on bench warrants related to charges of petit larceny and possession of marijuana. Winnie allegedly failed to appear for a court date in the Town of Batavia. She turned herself in and was jailed on $500 bail.

Eric X. Williams, 22, of Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Williams was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 10:46 p.m. on Feb. 24. No further details released.

Joshua J. Clark, 37, of Le Roy, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Clark was stopped at 1:50 a.m. Friday at the junction of routes 5 and 63 by State Police.

March 10, 2014 - 9:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

Michele Ann Case, granted a second chance at a trial on fraud charges after her first conviction was overturned, is likely to get that trial starting July 7, Judge Robert C. Noonan said in County Court today.

Case will have until April 18 to accept any plea offer, if one is forthcoming, Noonan said.

It's Noonan's practice to set plea cut-off dates, after which point a defendant must either go to trial or plead guilty without any conditions.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has not publicly stated whether there is any potential plea offer.

Case, 47, a home health care nurse, formerly from Bergen, is accused of bilking her former employer out of $14,000 by filing fraudulent financial records about her hours and travel.

For previous coverage, click here.

March 10, 2014 - 8:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Pavilion.

A Pavilion mother twice arrested under provisions of Leandra's Law will have to serve six months in jail after blowing a chance to avoid lockup given to her by Judge Robert C. Noonan a year ago.

Angela R. Kruse, 42, will also be on probation for five years.

Kruse was first arrested in Le Roy for driving drunk with her children in her car in June 2012. She was arrested again four months later in Wyoming County following a rollover accident.

Kruse appeared before Noonan last March after going through rehab and was told if she could stay out of trouble for 11 months she could have a chance to put her Genesee County charge behind her, but she violated the terms of her release and appeared before Noonan again today to answer for the lapse.

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