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November 26, 2016 - 8:54am
posted by Julia Ferrini in events, rob thompson, Attica, alexander.

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Four grisly murders were committed during an 18-month period between 1922 and 1924 in the tiny hamlet of Linden, near Bethany, between Attica and Batavia. An additional murder in 1917, in which the modus operandi (M.O.) and crime signature were identical, caught the attention of local author Rob Thompson as well. Not an enthusiast of unanswered questions, Thompson began to dig.

“It was a form of criminal reverse engineering,” Thompson said. “In 1917, 1922, 1924 and 1934 six people were butchered and the killer was never caught.”

Frances Kimball, Hattie Whaley, Tom Whaley, Mabel Morse and Ben Phillips in Attica, and “Ruth” in 1917, were all brutally murdered, yet the cases have remained unsolved for close to 100 years. That is until Thompson’s inquisitive mind took him to the Genesee County Historical Society “just to see what they had.”

In his second book on the subject – “The Twisted Tree -- Final Words on the Linden Murders” – Thompson, who will be holding a book signing at the Alexander Fire Department from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, believes he knows the name of the killer.

Thompson’s interest in the Linden murders began with a casual conversation. Sometime during the 1980s a small book – "The Linden Murders...Unsolved" by William F. Brown – was written about the murders, however, Thompson noted that is was a “just a review of the facts of the crime.” 

“I wanted to know why they weren’t solved. I didn’t set out to solve the case, but I wanted to know why...As far as I can tell, the case was never solved because people were getting killed because they knew who the murderer was. I also believe there were a few cover-ups in the case as well.

“I connected ‘Ruth’ to the others by M.O. and signature...nearness to the killer's workplace and all cases being kept together as though there were a link.”

He became interested in the subject because it was something that happened in the area. According to Thompson, the murderer would be considered one of the most prolific serial killers in New York State. Not only because the case was never solved, but because there were at least six – and possibly more – deaths. The murderer is in the top 10 group of serial killers in the state.

“You find little pieces of information and that gives you hope. If you don’t tell the stories, they are going to get lost. History will get buried if you don’t talk about it.”

Studying the existing case files and using modern profiling techniques, Thompson enlisted the help of Mark Safarik, a retired FBI agent and media expert on serial killers. Safarik was host to the NBC Universal show “Killer Instinct” which explored notorious crimes as seen through the eyes of an FBI criminal profiler.

"It was about control. These were not murders committed for financial or sexual gain. He also struck fear into the hearts of the other residents of Linden, likely preventing them from telling authorities enough to result in his arrest.”

While locals were fearful of going to the police, one theory Thompson suggested included a cover-up by the killer's wife, Lorraine, immediate family members and the killer’s doctor, Dr. Bradley. While he suggests all knew of his crimes, they were remiss to go to the authorities.

“I think Dr. Bradley knew Lorraine was messed up her whole life and his thinking may have been ‘am I going to send two women to the electric chair or move on with my life and let the authorities deal with it?’ They (police) knew where the killer was and he was under constant observation. Additionally, how can you convene a Grand Jury without any real hard evidence.”

Thompson’s theory suggests, after the murder of Kimball, the killer had come home and wiped his hands on his wife Lorraine’s dress.

“He transferred the blame onto her when he wiped his bloody hands on her dress.”

When Thompson spoke with Safarik, he went to him with photos and supporting documentation and asked him to give him an idea of the type of person he was looking for.

“To me, it didn’t look like delusional behavior, but had a pattern of behavior. He (the murderer) was cunning, manipulative, glib...he felt like he could get away with things when speaking with authorities. He gave clues. He said he couldn’t fire a pistol but he could fire a rifle, but they didn’t pick up on that. I hit all these points in the research.”

In 1934, Rochester Police Det. John McDonald had said Phillips died when a fire in the bedroom caused the sheetrock to fall on his head. However, the photo of the crime scene shows the man's head is caved in, yet the detective dismissed those injuries to anything other than the falling sheetrock.

“So you had a detective come in and throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing and a DA who shot himself... there were so many conflicting stories, but once I matched up the signatures, I couldn’t help but make the connection.”

Thompson’s background in psychology, schizophrenics specifically, became the backbone to his research. While in Memphis, Tenn., he dealt with the most serious mentally ill people. Thompson called them the “most dangerous you can think of.” He worked in the field for 12 years, handling 50 clients a week.

“They weren’t in prison; they were the unmedicated. My job was to go out and bring them into the system. I worked with the police doing crisis stabilization, identifying the mentally ill. I can identify a pattern. You don’t necessarily need more than an image, a photo of the killer, to get a feel for the person.”

Pointing to one photo he notes the people around the murderer – he is standing in a dominant role, in front of everyone else, the 1924 victim was in the photo, barely seen in the back. Thompson says a photograph will tell you everything.

“It says a lot about a person's personality. Did that person’s personality match anything else about him? What about his hands? They matched the physical genetic deformity that was noted by his doctor.”

Among other clues Thompson found was at the same time Michael’s mother, Sophia, and sister, Julia, went to Detroit to visit another sister in September 1921, several arsons and crimes started to occur in Linden. When Michael was found guilty of those crimes, the judge’s house was set on fire. Witnesses say they saw two people enter the house and saw Michael leaving. Additionally, only two of the murders happened prior to his mother’s death.

Although the victims, witnesses, and the murderer himself have been dead several decades, Thompson believes that his research can contribute to closing the case. While he believes positively that he's identified the murderer, he noted what journalist Dan Hurbeck said about his certainty: “ ‘Don’t use 100 percent, use 98.6 percent.’ When guys like Hurbeck, who sat with Timothy McVeigh and looked into his eyes and knew what it was like to deal with these people said ‘You got it right man. This case is closed.’ I can be pretty confident I came to the right conclusion.”

Thompson’s conclusion stemmed from the killer's signature elements, a blitz attack, trauma to the head, overkill, and arson – Kimbell was hit in the head 22 times with a rock; Ruth’s face was beaten so severely, that to this day her identity is still uncertain; Morse’s head was crushed; and Phillips experienced blunt force trauma to the head.

The tough part was separating it all and putting together the process.

“The most interesting part of it all was discovery. Discovering something new – his marriage certificate, the cover up that Dr. Bradley hid, Julia and Lorraine’s involvement, what they knew but didn’t say. 

“In a small town everybody would have known everybody and they certainly would have known if a stranger got off the train and killed three people. And they would have likely known who the suspect was. There were a lot of gatherings at that time, so people talked.

“On the night of the triple murder, Morse’s son, Howard, who lived in Buffalo, got a call saying ‘you will never see your mother again.’ Then the caller hung up. Who would have had his number? Who would have known about the crime right after it had taken place?”

At one point in the investigation, Morse’s husband, George, was a focus because “Mable was allegedly romancing the younger farm boys.” 

In the end, George was cleared and Howard ended up owning the store, which closed about 26 years ago.

“There is a woman who lives in Linden and her father was born there. When the school closed he would travel to Attica to go to school. She said she remembers her father had said someone from Westinghouse (a factory in Attica) would ask him about the murders in Linden...what’s going on there? She believes it was the killer because he was working for Westinghouse and he knew the train’s schedule. She says her dad had said he was ‘very afraid’ of that man. She also says, that is all ‘makes sense now.’ ”

Thompson holds a college degree in English Literature and a bachelor of science degree in Human Services with practical experience.

“I liked solving puzzles and there is no greater puzzle than the human psyche. And if you can look at a person who is sleeping under a bridge and figure out the reason why – addiction, mental illness, a combination of both. Could the killer have been at that place? We don’t know because we know nothing about the first 27 years of his life.

“My goal is to write a history book that doesn’t read like one. The Linden murders is history. I’d like people to think about it (history) and ask questions. It’s to keep history alive.”

Other books by Thompson include:

    • “The Linden Murders...Solved”

    • “Notorious”

    • “The Prince of Java”

    • “Attica Gateway to the West”

    • “Attica Gateway to the Civil War”

    • “From Hell The Final Days of Jack the Ripper”

    • “They Fell Together” Emory Upton Biography (2017)

    • “The Emperor's Robe” (Ernest Hemingway biography due out 2018)

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November 21, 2016 - 10:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, accident, news, Attica.

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An Attica woman is in critical condition at Strong Memorial Hospital tonight after her 2003 Chevy Trail Blazer hit a large, thick patch of compacted ice on Route 98 in Alexander and then turned sideways and slid into an oak tree.

Lorna Johnson, 53, was the lone occupant in the vehicle.

The SUV struck the tree right in the middle of the driver's side door.

Johnson was reportedly unconscious when first responders arrived on scene. It took more than 30 minutes to get her stabilized in an ambulance before she could be flown to Strong by Mercy Flight.

The patch of ice and compacted snow was at least 50 yards long and an inch or more thick, the result of blowing snow across the highway that melted on the road in the afternoon and then froze as the sun went down.

The SUV traveled off the road another 25 yards or more after leaving the iced area and struck the tree in the front yard of a residence.

The Alexander Fire Department responded, along with the Alexander ambulance, and volunteer firefighters extricated Johnson from her vehicle.

Mercy EMS, the Sheriff's Office and State Police also responded to the scene.

Speed unsafe for conditions may also have been a factor in the accident, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Kyle Krzemien and Sgt. Ron Meides are heading the investigation. Trooper Robert Breidenstein assisted at the scene.

(initial report)

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August 7, 2016 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica Rodeo, Attica, sports, rodeo.

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Being from California, raised by a family with deep roots in Southeastern Colorado, I always enjoy being around cowboys, so it's always fun to spend an afternoon at the Attica Rodeo.

For more rodeo coverage, visit the Wyoming County Free Press.

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June 23, 2016 - 2:45pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, batavia, Attica.

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Charlene Mess was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for the death of her husband Douglas Mess. The sentence was handed down in Wyoming County Court this morning, 14 months after Doug’s body was found stabbed, shot and buried in a manure pile on the farm the couple owned and worked in Attica.

On April 21, 2015, Charlene was charged with: murder in the second degree, a Class A felony; criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, a Class B felony; assault in the first degree, a Class B felony; assault in the second degree, a Class D felony; tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony; offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony; and making a punishable false written statement, a Class A misdemeanor.

On April 28, she pled guilty to manslaughter in the first degree.

Charlene stood, with the help of Assistant Public Defender Greg Kilburn, when asked if she would like to speak before the judge imposed her sentence.

She stood mute.

District Attorney Donald O’Geen reflected on the point, saying that that “reflects the nature of her mind.”

“In a murder case, you don’t ever expect anyone to not at least have remorse, or show some sort of compassion,” O’Geen said. “She refuses to acknowledge what she did. She couldn’t even say she was sorry to the family.”

“You admitted to killing Douglas Mess, the father of your three children,” said Judge Michael Mohun during sentencing. “You caused his death with a gunshot wound to the head. You took him, trussed by rope, to a manure pile and buried him. Law enforcement was told you had no knowledge of his whereabouts...The death of Douglas Mess resonates with the community...with the children that lost their father. The court sentences you to 25 years in prison with five years post-release supervision for the death of Douglas Mess.”

Her face bore an expressionless mask, which a curtain of lomg white hair partially obscured. She walked in with shackles secured around her ankles tethered by chains to the handcuffs around her wrists. In the rows of seats behind her, the hushed murmurs of family and friends of Doug rippled throughout the courtroom in tense anticipation. 

Those affected by the death of the 52-year-old farmer were given an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing. Laura Scott, Douglas’s older sister, took to the podium.

“The day I got the call, my gut instinct was ‘What did she do?’ But I told myself not to jump to conclusions,” Scott said. “Doug was a good man, a good-hearted and easy-going person. He wouldn’t hurt anyone, especially his sons. It’s been a rough year. They lost their father to a murder and the most difficult part was that their mother did it.

“You had an opportunity to save Doug’s life after you hit him with the pitchfork. You didn’t have to shoot him.”

Scott went on to tell the court about Charlene’s “fits of rage” and “viciousness” toward her sons. 

“I have heard more about the abuse you inflicted on my brother after his murder. Doug would never hit you. Your upbringing made you into the hateful monster that you are. You have no guilt to what you have done. It is horrifying what you’ve done. My brother said you were unfaithful and you had the nerve to be mad?

“I miss my brother’s humor...his bear hugs. I wish he told me, his big sister, the pain that was going on in his life. You are a danger to your sons. I wish you were locked away forever. I ask that you (the court) impose the maximum sentence.”

Thomas Stroud, a good friend to Doug, spoke next.

“The question that has haunted me for the past year is why? Why was it necessary to take his life? Why take a father, brother, uncle, coworker, neighbor...a dear and loyal friend? He gave some much of himself to others. You took so much from so many. Only Charlene and God really knows what happened that night in the barn, everyone else is left with the results, and the boys are left with the financial and emotional impact put on (them) by their own mother.

“Doug’s murder affected both the family and the community,” Stroud said. “Someday Charlene will stand before another judge and she will have to ask God for His mercy and grace. She needs to ask for forgiveness.”

Charlene sat at the defense table with her head hung down, silent, blank, seemingly showing no impact of what Stroud and Scott had to say.

“She definitely loved her animals, so much so that she killed her husband,” O’Geen said. “Shortly before his death, Doug was looking into filing for divorce. He was sick of her alcoholism, her abuse, her lack of help on the farm. The divorce would have caused her to lose her animals and she couldn’t take that.”

The DA went on to outline the events of the evening of April 19, 2015:

Charlene Mess struck Doug three times in the chest with a pitchfork. All of his injuries were incurred while he was alive. She wasn’t in any danger. After he was knocked unconscious, she went to the house, got her gun, put bullets in the gun, went back out into the barn, placed the gun to the back of Doug’s head and shot him. 

She then bound his hands and tied his feet together, she dragged him out of the barn with one of their tractors. She then moved the body with a skidster to the manure pile and buried him. She knew that manure would decompose a body quick. She wanted him to decompose quick so no one would find him. After burying him, she continued on with her chores. Next, she created and fostered a missing persons story.

She went to bed, got up the next day and went about her chores. 

Their son Doug called 9-1-1 April 20 to report his father missing after he failed to show up for work. 

At the same moment she was being interviewed by State Troopers, the whole family was worried about Doug. She was telling the troopers....she said Doug had received a call from his employer Baskin’s Livestock (April 19), left the house and got back around 5 p.m.. She said she was doing her chores and thought Doug was in the lower barn. She went into the house to do some work, came back out to continue milking then went to bed. She had said Doug had not gotten home yet. 

She got up the next morning (April 20) and went about her day. She let the ruse play out for hours while everyone was out looking for him. She didn’t think anyone would find him. He was found – dead, buried in a pile of manure.

“Her behavior from the beginning has been a complete acting job,” O’Geen said. “She faked the childlike behavior. She faked the shaking. She faked it when she was interviewed by two different psychologists. In the probation report, it states that the act was calculated and planned and recommended the maximum sentence of 25 years. The defendant had difficulty putting animals down, yet she had no issue with taking a human life. The District Attorney’s Office asked for a 25-year sentence for the cold, calculated killing of Douglas Mess.”

Defense Attorney Public Defender Greg Killburn asked the court to look at the whole of Charlene’s life. 

“She has worked hard all her life. She’s a law-abiding, hard-working woman. But below the surface there was tension building. Months before the incident she told her doctor that she felt like she was going to explode. The evidence doesn’t show that it (the murder) was planned...that day, the pressure just exploded. We ask that you impose a sentence that represents her life as a whole and ask for the court’s mercy.”

When Mohun handed down the sentence he offered no mercy. An audible sound of gratitude emanated from the courtroom. He told Charlene she took away “a father, a brother, friend and a community member.”

“The sentence was what we had hoped for,” O’Geen said. “It was a horrific crime. Charlene went through extensive measures to hide the body intentionally to get rid of it quickly. When he couldn’t defend himself, she got the gun. The coroner’s report states that the gun was in close contact with his head. She claimed it happened because Doug grabbed her. There was no evidence to suggest violence from him.

"Yes, they may have argued about her alcoholism and not doing her job, but there is nothing to suggest that Doug was violent toward Charlene. The evidence shows that he was abused by her. He wanted out of an abusive relationship. Based on the evidence, the one constant was with animals. It’s interesting that animals were more important than a human life.”

See related: Charlene Mess admits to killing her husband Douglas Mess

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: In a statement released by the DA's Office, O'Geen said, "I want to thank the members of the New York State Police, especially the major crime unit, for leading this investigation; along with assistance from members of the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, the Attica Fire Department, Wyoming County Emergency Management, the Coroner’s Office and the many others who helped bring the Mess family justice in this case. 

"In cases like this, collaboration of resources and cross-agency cooperation is key to the final result. This sentence will not bring Doug back to his family but at least it will keep his killer away from society for a very long time. The family will now go forward remembering Doug as a hardworking, gentle and kind man who was always there for his family and community. I wish them all strength during this difficult time.” 

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April 20, 2016 - 11:37am
posted by Julia Ferrini in batavia, alexander, Attica, events.

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The pride and joy of the man’s job now sits idle most days, his namesake lovingly wiping the dirt from her fenders as a myriad of emotions floated across his brow. Douglas Mess’s John Deere 4020 is built for heavy work, but could also be used for lighter duties, and as his son put it, “it’s the heart of any farm.”

Family and friends gathered at the Spring Farm Tuesday evening for the second annual Douglas Mess Memorial Tractor ride. April 19 marked the one year anniversary of the death of the 52-year-old farmer. As a way to remember the father, brother and friend, those who knew him best revved up their tractors and made the approximately six-mile trek – from the Spring Farm on Chaddock Road to Baskin Livestock on Creek Road – in celebration of a man’s life.

“Most days are fine,” said the eldest of three boys, Doug Mess. “I still have my off days.”

Since last April, the Mess’s farm in Attica had been off limits. Within the last few months, the boys have been able to go back. 

“We aren’t operating the farm right now,” Doug said. “The cows have been gone for almost a year and now we're just getting things cleaned up.”

“It’s still a shock,” said longtime family friend Dale Spring. “Our families grew up together. Our kids were in 4-H together. He was an awesome guy. He would help you no matter what. If he couldn't talk ya through it, he'd come down and help.”

Sixteen tractors in all and double the number of friends and family met to honor the man.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” Spring said. “Every morning, after he was done milking his cows he would drive by my farm...”

As a way to remember their employee, Bill Baskin and Susan Blackburn, Baskin’s wife, had a sign made dedicating their new truck shop to Douglas.

The gathering. The ride. It was a time to remember the man and not the incident surrounding his death.

See related: Murder of Douglas Mess a big loss for Baskin Livestock Attica woman charged with murder in missing man's death 

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March 18, 2016 - 7:29am
posted by WBTA News in Attica.

A small earthquake occurred about two miles from Attica this morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The 1.7-magnitude quake happened at 5:45 this morning.

Earthquakes with magnitudes between 1 and 3 on the Richter Scale are usually not felt, except by a few people under “especially favorable conditions,” according to the agency.

There are approximately 900,000 earthquakes of that size every year.

December 14, 2015 - 2:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy, alexander, batavia, Attica, pembroke, corfu, byron, Pavilion, Stafford.

Joshua M. Gaudioso, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and second-degree strangulation. He was arrested following a domestic incident at 7:46 p.m. on Dec. 6 wherein he allegedly strangled the victim and threatened to kill the victim along with several members of the victim's family. He was jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

James E. Wroten Jr., 49, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested at 10 p.m. on Dec. 7 on Olyn Avenue following a verbal and physical argument between himself and a person who had a stay away order of protection from Wroten. It is alleged that the defendant called the protected party names and pushed a plate into her face during an argument. He was jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jamie Givens, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Kenneth C. Roma, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, operating with a BAC of .08 percent or more, uninspected motor vehicle, cracked/broken windshield, and driving to the left of pavement markings (a no-passing zone). The Sheriff's Office received two calls from other motorists about the poor driving habits of the driver of a pickup truck eastbound on Route 5 in the Town of Batavia at around 10:20 p.m. on Dec. 11. The callers continued to follow the pickup and provide dispatchers with the current locations and details of when the pickup allegedly interfered with other vehicles on the roadway. Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Meides located the pickup on West Avenue in the Village of Attica with a caller's assistance. The driver indicated he was lost and did not know where he was. Meides was assisted by other members of the Sheriff's Office and two officers from the Attica Police Department. Roma was released on an appearance ticket and is to be in Alexander Town Court on Jan. 12. Sgt. Meides was assisted in the investigation and report by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Heather R. Frizol, 35, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, DWI, speeding, failure to maintain lane, and passing through a red light. She was arrested following a traffic stop at 1:28 a.m. on Dec. 6 on Main Street, Batavia. Frizol was also charged as an unlicensed driver and for allegedly having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. She is to appear in City Court on  Dec. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Richard Dean McKague Jr., 25, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, failure to stop at a stop sign, and being an unlicensed operator. His arrest at 6:06 a.m. on Dec. 10 came after a vehicular pursuit that started in the Town of Stafford and ended in the Town of Byron. It is alleged that McKague was observed violating sections of state vehicle and traffic law and then when a traffic stop was initiated, be failed to comply. The pursuit through two townships concluded on Beaver Meadows Road and he was taken into custody without incident. A search of his person allegedly produced a small quantity of marijuana. He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond and will respond to both Stafford and Byron courts to answer the charges. The investigation was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Corona, with the assistance of Deputy Christopher Erion, Sgt. Eric Seppala, and State Police.

Jeffrey Lynn Shultz II, 21, of Walkers Corners Road, Byron, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs -- first offense, driving left of pavement markings, and operating a motor vehicle without an inspection certificate. He was arrested at 1:51 p.m. on Dec. 12 on Byron Road in Byron. He is to appear in Byron Town Court on Dec. 15. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Corona, assisted by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Roger James Farney, 33, of Clayton Street, Buffalo, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at 1 p.m. on Dec. 9 on West Main Street in Batavia after allegedly making derogatory statements toward a person who has an order or protection. He turned himself into Batavia PD headquarters and is to appear in City Court on Dec. 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan.

Jeannine Nicole Armbrewster, 38, of Ridge Road, Medina, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. She was arrested at 7:42 p.m. on Dec. 12 on Alexander Road, Alexander. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Dana Richardson, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

Ryan Joseph Bellinger, 25, of Route 209, Varysburg, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree -- brass knuckles, unlawful possession of marijuana, and operating a motor vehicle with obstructed vision. Bellinger was arrested following a traffic stop at 10:21 p.m. on Dec. 13 on Alleghany Road, Pembroke. He was issued an appearance ticket for Pembroke Court on Jan. 21. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Lonnie Nati.

Daniel C. Brinkman Sr., 55, of Mill Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal trespass. It is alleged that at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 9, Brinkman trespassed onto CSX Railroad property (located at 100 Evans St., Batavia) after having been warned to stay off the property. He is due in City Court on Dec. 16. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Jason L. McKenzie, 37, and Pamela L. McKenzie, 39, husband and wife from Pavilion, were arrested by state Troopers on Dec. 6 and charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing items from Kohl's earlier in the week.

Kelli E. Wallace, 53, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested at 7:20 p.m. on Dec. 7 after allegedly stealing property from Dollar General. She was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in City Court on Dec. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

Michael F. Geer, 24, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, was arrested at 3:56 a.m. on Dec. 11 as the result of an investigation into an incident that occurred on East Main Street on Nov. 13. Geer, who is currently in county jail, was issued an appearance ticket charging him with petit larceny. He is to be in City Court on Dec. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Foels.

Robert Ernest Saari, 33, of Alleghany Road, Attica, was arrested on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court for failing to appear at a scheduled court date. He posted bail and was released on an appearance ticket. He is to be in City Court on Dec. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards. 

Robert Ernest Saari, 33, of Alleghany Road, Attica, was arrested at 6:04 p.m. on Dec. 11 and charged with having insufficient tail lamps and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. After being pulled over for allegedly having insufficient tail lamps, it was found that the defendant's license was suspended more than 10 times on 10 dates. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer, assisted by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Martin James Rodgers, 31, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with parole violation. As the result of a search of his residence at 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 10, is alleged that he violated parole. A court date for him has not yet been scheduled. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Daniel Colin Healy, 24, of North Street, Le Roy, is charged with failure to appear on a traffic summons. He turned himself into Batavia PD headquarters after being notified by mail that he had a warrant out for his arrest. He is to be in City Court on Dec. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis.

Zachary B. Reeves, 19, of Maine, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. On Dec. 12 at Route 33 and Prospect Street, Corfu, Reeves was pulled over for allegedly driving 54 in a 35-mph zone and for having a loud muffler. The patrol officer allegedly smelled marijuana in the vehicle and allegedly found marijuana residue on the passenger seat. Subsequently, the officer allegedly found a jar containing about 1 gram of marijuana as well as two glass smoking pipes and "1 false cigarette containing marijuana residue." The case was handled by Corfu PD Officer Michael Petritz, assisted by Sheriff's Deputy Lonnie Nati and Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 "Destro."

November 23, 2015 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, UMMC, batavia, Attica.

An Attica woman who was arrested for attempting to bite an emergency room nurse and punching her several times in the stomach will spend at least a year-and-a-half in State Prison after pleading guilty this morning to attempted assault in the second degree.

In an unusual twist, she was also sentenced today.

Kerri L. Forsberg, 43, of Alexander Road, Attica, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, has medical issues that meant she couldn't be housed in any of the county jails Genesee County uses to hold female inmates. In those circumstances, the state will hold an unsentenced inmate, and at no cost to the county, said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

The difficulty, however, is that Forsberg was held in Bedford, and Genesee County deputies were required to take her back and forth between the prison and her court appearances.

So some of her appearances were actually waived, including her plea-cutoff. She was planning to take her case to trial, Friedman explained, but when she changed her mind and decided to take the plea offer, arrangements were made for Forsberg to enter her plea and be sentenced on the same day.

Friedman said the Probation Department was "great" for their handling of the expedited pre-sentence investigation. Investigators obtained the case file this morning, combined it with Forsberg's PSI from a previous case in Wyoming County, and were able to meet the deadline of 4 p.m. for the completed report.

Forsberg is eligible for release in one-and-a-half years, but could serve up to three years. She was sentenced as a second felony offender.

She was arrested in early July for attempting to bite a UMMC nurse and punching her in the stomach.

November 16, 2015 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, alexander, byron, Attica.
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 Abraham Martinez

Abraham R. Martinez, 31, of Alexander, is charged with assault, 2nd. Martinez was arrested by State Police following a month-long investigation into an incident in the Town of Orangeville. A female was struck in the mouth with a bottle, resulting in the need for dental surgery after she lost part of her front teeth. State Police were provided with the first and last name of a suspect but had no other information to go on. Troopers, with the assistance of Border Patrol agents, obtained information that indicated the suspect might be located at a farm in Alexander, where he had been employed for about two weeks. Martinez was located and arrested and processed in Warsaw. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Alicia Kimberly Urban, 30, of Main Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Urban is accused of stealing $432.96 in merchandise from Kohl's.

Luke William Ritzenthaler, 32, of Route 237, Byron, is charged with aggravated family offense and criminal contempt, 2nd. Ritzenthaler allegedly had contact with a female by phone and letter in violation of a court order while incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail.

A 17-year-old resident of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. The youth allegedly shoplifted at Walmart. The youth allegedly placed electronic merchandise in her purse and exited the store.

Kelvin B. Murphy, 42, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Murphy allegedly pushed another person at 3:47 a.m., Nov. 8., at an address on State Street.

Gregory S. Yark, 51, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Yark was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail. Yark was also charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Yark was allegedly found in possession of these items at the time of his arrest.

November 6, 2015 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, attica state prison.

A Mercy EMS ambulance is requested to the Attica State Prison to assist with an inmate with reportedly multiple stab wounds.

No further information available at this time.

UPDATE 12:49 p.m.: Press release from NYSP:

On Friday, November 6, 2015 the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision are investigating an assault at the Attica Correctional Facility, involving one inmate assaulting another inmate.  Investigation is on-going and more information will be released at a later time. 

UPDATE 4:44 p.m.: State Police report the victim is in stable condition.  His name has not been released. The investigation is ongoing.

August 27, 2015 - 4:52am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Attica, alexander, Bethany.

A house fire is reported at 31 East Ave. in the Village of Attica. Alexander Fire Department is called to provide mutual aid to Attica in fighting the blaze, along with Bethany for rehab. The location is between Prospect Street and Putnam Place.

UPDATE 5:08 a.m.: Fire out. Checking for extensions. Bethany can go back in service.

August 8, 2015 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, Attica Rodeo, sports, rodeo.

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Photos from the Saturday matinee at the Attica Rodeo.

The rodeo concludes with a final performance at 2 p.m., Sunday.

For more rodeo coverage, visit the Wyoming County Free Press. Julia Ferrini has done a great job with it.

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Recommend viewing of the slideshow: Full-screen mode.

July 17, 2015 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Attica.

A 30-year-old Attica resident will spend at least the next year of his life in state prison for a burglary in Batavia last November, though he would rather spend the time with his young son.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., told Genesee County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan that he knows he has a drug problem, but that's no excuse of his criminal activity.

"I know what I did is wrong," Cramer said. "I intend to use whatever time you give me as a time to better myself and become a better man."

His attorney, Fred Rarick, said Cramer started using heroin when he was 16.

"He continued to use heroin even though he knew it might lead to his death, even though he knew that it might lead, as it could today, to time in prison," Rarick said. "In spite of that, he's been unable to combat his addiction."

Rarick said he thought his client would benefit from rehabilitation programs available through the Department of Corrections. 

Noonan sentenced Cramer to an indeterminate one to three years, which is a slightly less than the maximum sentence available to the judge.

July 9, 2015 - 3:33pm
posted by Traci Turner in bergen, Wyoming, perry, sheldon, Attica, corfu.

Tyler J. Long, 20, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana following an underage drinking investigation in the Town of Sheldon. Long allegedly was drinking alcohol in a concert parking lot when deputies found him to be in possession of Ecstasy, Adderall and marijuana.

Matthew D. Schwartz, 23, and Victoria L. Brown, 19, of Bergen, are charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, a class A misdemeanor. State troopers responded to a residence within a trailer park on Clinton Street Road, Bergen, for a report of criminal mischief. After an investigation, troopers found there were orders of protection in place prohibiting contact between the two. Schwartz and Brown were put in the Genesee County Jail on $1,000 bail.

Katherine J. Vail, of Fitch Street, Churchville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to stop  at a stop sign, speeding and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Following a traffic stop on Parkview Drive in Bergen, Deputy Joseph Corona allegedly found Vail in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

A 17-year-old male from Rochester was found to be in possession of a small quantity of marijuana following a traffic stop. Officer Michael Petritz pulled over the male for speeding and no right on red on Route 77 in Corfu. The male was issued tickets and an appearance ticket.

The Wyoming County Sheriff's Department responded to a two-car accident with entrapment on Route 238 in Attica on July 5. All the occupants were removed from the vehicles and treated before deputies arrived. Following an investigation, Russell Irwin, of Batavia, was allegedly found to be following too closely behind David Snyder. Sndyer was making a right turn into a driveway when Irwin struck him. Irwin was issued a citation.

June 27, 2015 - 3:21pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Stafford, Attica, Winner, Stafford Fire Department, corvette.

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She had a job to do. There was no time for playing. This was serious business. 

With all the attentiveness her little 4-year-old body could muster, she reached into the bin holding the slips of paper and drew out a name. 

“She was very serious about doing her job pulling the ticket,” Yvonne Freeman, the little girl's mom, said. “Most kids, when you put them in the bin to draw the name, play with the paper, not Teaghan, she was very serious about the whole thing.”

For more than 25 years the Stafford Fire Department has raffled off a car; for more than a decade, it’s been a classic Corvette. About every other year, someone from the local area wins the grand prize. This year, Cortland Kopp, of Attica, won his choice between a 1967 cherry red Corvette convertible or $50,000 cash.

“I own a 1972 Corvette,” Kopp said, “have for 30 years. I decided to take the cash.”

The Attica corrections officer has been buying the raffle tickets since 1976. This is the first year he showed a return on his $30-a-year investment.

“After taxes I figure it’ll be about $35,000,” Kopp said. “It’s been a wild, surreal week.”

Raffle organizer and Stafford Fire Department social member Robin Krenzer reported thousands of tickets are sold for the raffle. While there is one Grand Prize winner, there are 10 winners of $1,000 each as well.

“There were only 200-something of that car made,” Krenzer said. “We will sell this vehicle and then purchase a different one for next year’s raffle.

“The last time we had a local winner was two years ago and she took the cash, too,” Krenzer said. “A man from Texas won last year and he took the car.”

While the cars are purchased yearly, this ‘67 ‘vette has an appraised value of $92,000. Additionally, organizers scour the region for a different car every year. Occasionally they are bought from individuals, other times, car dealers, they really never know what year the next model will be.

According to Krenzer, proceeds from the raffle helps to fund the department’s budget for the year. Additionally, the Stafford Fire Department donates $5,000 to Mercy Flight every year from the proceeds of the raffle.

But right now, in this moment, Kopp is living a surreal sort of life, getting ready to enjoy his new windfall.

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June 23, 2015 - 9:14am
posted by Traci Turner in thunderstorm, Le Roy, Pavilion, Attica, news, print, email, batavia, weather.

Trees and power lines are down due to a line of thunderstorms that swept through Genesee County early this morning.

As of 9 a.m., National Grid has reported hundreds of customers affected from the power outages in Le Roy, Pavilion and Attica. There are also scattered outages in other areas affecting less than 10 customers each.

Law enforcement advises motorists to use caution because debris could still be blocking some roads.

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(Storm damage on North Street in Le Roy. Photo taken by Lucie Griffis.)

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Gilbert Street at the corner of West Main Street in Le Roy is closed due to power lines down across the street. According to Tom Wood, 2nd assistant chief for Le Roy Fire Department, three power lines are down. Residents are waiting for National Grid crews to restore their power.

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Pictured below a tree down on South Jackson Street, Batavia.

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