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February 19, 2020 - 1:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in quinten edmonds, crime, murder, news, batavia, notify.


Michael Paladino, who would have turned 44 years old today had he not been murdered by Quinten J. Edmonds on June 1, 2019, was remembered today in County Court as a loving son, brother, and father, but his aunts and mother, who each asked that Judge Charles Zambito give the lifelong criminal the maximum prison term available.

And so Zambito did, 20-years-to-life.

There was no expression of sympathy from the judge, even in response to an apology from Edmonds -- who didn't just react in the heat of the moment to Paladino's attempt to protect two women Edmonds was attacking: he took the time and effort to go to the apartment of an acquaintance on Ross Street and retrieve a knife.

“For whatever reason, you thought you had a score to settle with him," Zambito said. "You say you didn’t intend to kill him but when you stab somebody that many times with a knife, I don’t see how it can be reasonably viewed that you didn’t know he wouldn’t die from those injuries.”

Edmonds had told Zambito minutes before, "I take full responsibility for what happened and I apologize to the victim’s friends and family and to my family. This isn’t who I was raised to be and I didn’t intend to take anybody’s life that night. I was drinking and I took the situation too far and I’m sincerely sorry."

Family members said they will never recover from the death of Paladino.

"The loss of Michael has hurt our family beyond words," said Carol DiFrancisco, an aunt. "There are no more birthday parties, backyard parties, holidays, or other gatherings that will be the same. Our family is forever broken."

At the close of her statement, she said, "Quinten Edmonds has given Michael’s loving family a life sentence of eternal sadness.”

His aunt Nancy Elmore said, "He was a big man, not just from a physical standpoint but from the kindness of heart. His actions on June 1, 2019, will tell you that. Rendering aid to people he didn’t even know without regard to his own safety shows he was a kind, gentle, caring man."

The sister of Paladino's mother, Barbara Fay, read a statement on her behalf.

She said, "The pain will never go away for any of us. I don’t know how I could survive this if not for my loving family you see here. It helped me survive and pushed me forward."

She called Edmonds a brutal criminal who has no regard for human life.

"He should never walk free again to repeat his actions."

The family vowed to show up at his first parole hearing in about 20 years to oppose his potential release.

Throughout today's hearing, except when he was speaking, Edmonds sat motionless in his chair at the defense table and stared straight ahead. He never looked at any of the other speakers.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman also asked that Edmonds be shown no leniency in sentencing. He questioned Edmonds' claims that he was too intoxicated to know what he was doing and that he didn't intend to kill Paladino.

“He said he got the knife to scare Mike," Friedman said. "He didn’t need to scare Michael Paladino. He was the aggressor in this case and when he got to the corner he could have left. He did not and he got the knife because he intended to kill Michael Paladino."

Edmonds claims he was intoxicated, Friedman explained to Zambito, but he had the presence of mind to know to go to a residence he had been to before. He knew the residence well enough to know where to find a knife in the kitchen. Later, when Edmonds recounted events in his interview with a probation officer, he recalled details that are consistent with what witnesses said and the police investigation showed.  

“There is no indication he was so intoxicated that he was incapable of planning a murder," Friedman said.

Friedman said Zambito's decision was all about how long he wanted to protect society from a person who is committing such a horrible crime.

Defense Attorney Fred Rarick did not request for his client anything other than the sentencing recommendation agreed to at the time of Edmonds' guilty plea in August. He says, however, while acknowledging that his statement would be subject to misinterpretation, that perhaps something good could come from the events of June 1: That rather than first jump into a situation where people are fighting and yelling, people should call 9-1-1 first. If Paladino had done that, Rarick said, perhaps this whole outcome could have been avoided.

That drew a bit of a rebuke from Zambito when he spoke.

“I trust Mr. Rarick is not trying to blame Michael Paladino because that would be an injustice.”

Zambito acknowledged that Edmonds had a difficult childhood. He didn't have a father. His mother struggled to raise him but, Zambito said, Edmonds had a "loving grandmother who tried to raise him right."

Even so, Edmonds' criminal history became when he was 12 years old and he then spent the next 20 years either confined or awaiting confinement.

“You had many opportunities to deal with those issues, issues you had to know you had, and you never did," Zambito said. "That one is on you. It’s one thing to say you come from a difficult background, you were brought up in difficult circumstances. But life isn’t fair and at some point you had to recognize you have a problem. You don’t deserve to live in the community. You’re too much of a risk, too much of a danger to the rest of us and to people like Michael Paladino.”

NOTE: At the end of the proceedings, DA Lawrence Friedman informed the court that during the pretrial sentencing investigation, a records check in Monroe County by the probation department found that the correct spelling of the defendant's first name is "Quinten." He moved to have all court documents corrected. Contrary to previous reports, we've used the spelling "Quinten" in this story.

August 20, 2019 - 5:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Grand Jury, notify, murder, batavia.

The Genesee County Grand Jury today indicated a former Rochester parolee for second-degree murder stemming from the June 1 death of Good Samaritan Michael R. Paladino, who was fatally stabbed after coming to the aid of a woman allegedly being beaten on Ross Street by Quinton J. Edmonds (photo above).

The crime Edmonds is accused of is a Class A-1 felony. The indictment alleges that Edmonds intentionally caused Paladino's death.

Paladino, 43, was stabbed outside of his apartment after trying to come to the aid of the woman who was under attack.

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said after the incident that their investigation indicated that Edmonds was in a vehicle in the City when an argument began between Edmonds and at least one of the two women in the vehicle with him. The vehicle stopped on Ross Street and the argument continued outside the vehicle.

Emergency dispatchers received a call of the disturbance at 5/7 Ross St. at 12:44 a.m.

Paladino suffered multiple stab and cut wounds to his upper torso and head and collapsed in the entryway of his apartment. He was transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC. He was pronounced dead at 5:05 a.m. by Coroner Don Coleman.

The women in the vehicle fled the scene right away and a police officer saw a vehicle driving erratically and stopped it in the parking lot just east of St. Joseph School.

Edmonds was well known to Batavia police, according to previous statements by Heubusch. 

State records indicate Edmonds was convicted in 2015 in Monroe County of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. His parole ended in April 2018.

For previous coverage about the Ross Street crime, click here.

May 21, 2019 - 1:59pm

Photo and information from the NYS Police, Troop A, Batavia:

Cold Case Tuesday: New York State Police in Batavia continue to investigate the 1977 murder of an Erie County woman.

On Nov. 25th, 1977, the partially decomposed body of Jessica Rose Lane, age 66, was found by two deer hunters in a wooded area off of Alley Road in the Town of Darien.

The victim was found fully clothed with fractured ribs, a fractured left elbow and a fractured skull, likely caused by stabbing.

Lane was last seen on Nov. 11, 1977 at Williamstown Apartments in Cheektowaga.

The exact location of the crime has yet to be determined. However, the residents below the victim’s apartment claimed to have heard two “thumps” between 4 and 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 12th, 1977.

Lane, who lived alone, was known to keep to herself and rarely had visitors. Suspects have been developed, but no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Batavia by calling 716-344-6200. Please refer to SJS # 3029541.

November 2, 2018 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richard D. Hanes, Raymond Morgan, murder, crime, batavia, notify.


      Richard Hanes

A former Orleans County resident whom investigators believe planned the murder of Raymond Morgan before beating him to death in his apartment at 111 Liberty St., Batavia, on July 24, was charged in Genesee County Court today with murder in the second degree.

Richard D. Hanes, 36, entered a not guilty plea before a courtroom packed with Morgan's family and friends as well as several police officers and detectives from Batavia PD. He was shackled and dressed in the green jumpsuit of the Department of Corrections and accompanied by a pair of corrections officers.

"Right now we don't have a motive," said Det. Kevin Czora after Hanes was arraigned on the single count of second-degree murder. "All we know is that it was an exceptionally violent attack that happened in an extremely short period of time. I believe it was premeditated from the evidence that we've collected, and what we know, but as of right now we do not have a motive."

Hanes has been in state custody since July 26, two days after the murder, on an alleged parole violation. He is being held at the Attica Correctional Facility.

He was convicted in Orleans County in 2003 of burglary, 3rd, attempted robbery, 2nd, and grand larceny, 4th. His parole on those charges expires Dec. 7.

According to a police spokesman, Hanes was living at 5 Thorpe St., Batavia, a rooming house for clients of GCASA, at the time of the alleged murder.

The evidence against Hanes, according to Czora and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, is wide-ranging.

"There were witnesses in the area who, when this happened, identified him," Friedman said. "That's how it got started. So we have that. There are various items of physical evidence that were found and connected to him. We've got surveillance video from various locations that follow his path after the crime. There are also various items of scientific evidence."

Hanes is scheduled to remain in state custody until early December. Judge Charles Zambito ordered him held without bail but Fred Rarick, representing Hanes, said he reserved his right to make a bail application at a later date. Hanes will next appear in County Court on Jan. 9 for a hearing on any motions that have been filed.

Though Morgan had his own trouble with the law, he was a 47-year-old Batavia native with a large, tight-knit family locally, including five grandchildren, and a large network of close friends. Victor Thomas said they're all relieved to see the case reach this stage after months of waiting for justice to be served.

"This is the first step," Thomas said. "At least we start to see some justice; at least we got a name; at least we have a charge; at least we've got a prosecutor and somebody who is going to fight for us."

While police identified a suspect early in the investigation and gathered several items of physical evidence, formal charges were delayed until DNA could be analyzed.

Friedman said, because of ethical guidelines, he couldn't discuss that aspect of the case but he said the important factor was just making sure all of the evidence was ready for a successful prosecution.

"I can say that the delay was a matter of completing the investigation," Friedman said. "Fortunately, we had the luxury of time knowing that he was being held on a parole detainer and we knew what our timeline was as far as when we needed to have a grand jury presentation to make sure that we were at this point before he got released by parole."

He said he understood the desire of family and friends to see an arrest made quickly.

"Obviously, I've known all along that there are a lot of people who are very interested in this case, family members, people who are anxious to see something happen and we're maybe at times troubled by the fact that that wasn't happening quicker," Friedman said. "But my position has always been in this case and others is, we're going to do it right rather than doing it quickly. We're not going to jump the gun before we've got everything in order."

Todd Crossett, Batavia PD's assistant chief, said patrol officers and detectives put in more than 800 hours on the case so far (and the investigation isn't done).

"This is a culmination of many hours of work from patrol officers doing an excellent work at the initial crime scene and then going to the detectives," Crossett said. "Anything that came into the department, they were on it. Long, long hours, especially when it initially came in, long hours of chasing everything down. I think because of that hard work in the beginning that's why we ultimately got to where we are."

There has been speculation, Czora acknowledged, that there may have been other people involved in the murder of Morgan. He said every lead along those lines has been pursued and so far there is no evidence of any other people being involved.

The investigation doesn't end with the arraignment today, Czora said.

"There are countless numbers of pieces of evidence that we've obtained and processed and continue to process even still to this day," Czora said. "Our investigation continues even after this arraignment. It's just been an extensive amount of work that needed to be accomplished."

Top photo: Friends and family wearing T-shirts in tribute to Ray Morgan.

August 24, 2018 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in murder, crime, batavia, news, notify.


The family of Ray Morgan misses him every day, said daughter Raelee Morgan in an interview earlier this week, which is making it so hard to wait for justice in his murder case.

Batavia PD has a person of interest and that person is being held in the Genesee County Jail on an unrelated charge, but until the State Police lab reports back on the results of DNA tests from the crime scene it would be premature to try and charge that person with murder, said Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Raelee said members of the family don't feel the case is moving fast enough nor is much information being shared with the family.

"I'm not sure what they're looking for but we're doing everything we can to prepare a case to present to a grand jury," Heubusch said. "The worst thing that can happen is we present a case and the grand jury returns a no bill, then we're done. We can't present the case again."

Heubusch said the State Police lab is cooperative and has expedited the case but it still takes time to get results.

He also said investigator's sisters communicate regularly with Raelee's sister, Faith, but the police cannot release all of the information they have because there is information, if made public, that could compromise the investigation.

The 47-year-old Morgan, who besides two daughters, had seven grandchildren, was reportedly badly beaten in the attack.

Heubusch sounded a little exasperated at one point to even be talking about the case publicly.

"When you go on social media or you go to the media and start talking, it hurts the case," Heubusch said. "You could put something out there that makes it harder to get a conviction."

Raelee said the family just wants justice and they don't want the public to remember him as a person who had a criminal record but as a man who was a kind, loving family man, and friend to many people. She said everything he did, even the things that got him into trouble, was to help other people.

"He was the type of guy that no matter who you are what you've done in the past, he will give you the shirt off his back," Raelee said. "If he had 10 dollars in his pocket he would give it to you if you needed it. He was an amazing guy. He really was."

She's also upset that after Morgan's murder the night of July 24 at 111 Liberty St., Batavia, that once police left his apartment, the room was left open. Morgan's belongings disappeared, she said, and a neighbor posted gruesome, bloody pictures on Facebook.

Raelee blames the police.

"I would like to find a lawyer for the wrongdoings of the Batavia Police Department handling his crime scene because, like I said, his crime scene was not taped off; his crime scene was completely opened up," Raelee said. "Myself and my sister only received three bags of bloody clothes -- all the rest of his belongings were thrown away."

The day after the murder, Heubusch told The Batavian that once investigators finish processing a crime scene, the property is turned over to the property owner and the owner from that point is responsible for securing the scene. As a matter of Constitutional law, the police cannot maintain control of private property once it has finished processing the crime scene.

The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM contributed to this story.

July 27, 2018 - 7:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, murder, batavia, news, notify.


Those who made it a habit to read arrest reports locally have come across the name Raymond Lee Morgan a few times over the years but that public profile paints an unfair picture of the man, his friends and family said during a vigil in his honor yesterday outside 111 Liberty St., where he was murdered on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old had a big, loving heart, said his sister, Natalie Urbanski (top photo).

"He had seven grandkids," Urbanski said. "He had sisters. He had family. He’s always there, no matter what. You needed something he would be there to help you and it seems like no one wants to hear that."

The vigil was, as Victor Thomas put it, a celebration of Ray Morgan's life, but Thomas and others also made pleas for anybody who knows anything to help the police solve the murder case, and for Batavia to come together.

"He would want us to come together and spread the same love that he spread," Thomas said.

With arms wide open he said, "I want to spread love today because that is what Ray did and that is who he was. He didn’t deserve to go out like this. Nobody does. So at the end of the day, if anybody knows anything they need to say something because my man didn’t deserve this."

Then he looked to the sky and addressed Morgan, "I know you're up there and I know you're looking down on this. Something’s got to give, bra. This stuff in Batavia has got to stop. This isn’t what it was. We’ve got to get back to what it was."

Natalie Urbanski said Morgan was "one of a kind."

"He was a sweet loving man who did not need to go out the way he did," she said. 

She also made a plea for anybody with information to come forward and help the police solve Morgan's murder.

"His daughters, his grandkids, his loved ones, his aunt, his mother, need some type of closure," Urbanski said. "Let’s not let this be a cold case. Let this be solved immediately."

And she included a plea for Batavia come together.

"Batavia you need to come back as one, as we were before," she said. "All of this violence and nonsense, senseless killings is not who were are. We are not the city. We are Batavia."

Dionne Thomas also recalled Morgan's kind, loving ways.

"I remember the Christmas he told the kids he was going to kidnap Santa Claus," Thomas said. "The kids were really scared that Uncle Ray Ray was going to kidnap Santa Claus. He said if he didn’t leave no presents on Hall Street there wasn’t going to be no Christmas. The kids woke up on Christmas, Santa visited Hall Street. Uncle Ray Ray made sure Santa was on Hall Street. That’s who he was for us all."

People know he had problems in his past, Thomas said, but his murder was just senseless.

"No matter what was done in the past doesn’t justify what was done to him," Thomas said. "No one deserves that, especially not Ray. We all know that."

Funeral arrangments have been made for Morgan. Calling hours will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at H.E. Turner, 403 E. Main St., Batavia, with a funeral service at 1 p.m.  (Full Obituary)




Victor Thomas


Matt Green, pouring a 40 in honor of Ray Morgan.



Nicole Griffen



Victor Thomas with Jeff Hull and Lamar Randall.


Ray Morgan with his seven grandchildren (photo used with permission of his daughters).

July 27, 2018 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, murder, news, batavia, notify.

A person of interest in the murder of Raymond Lee Morgan is in custody on an unrelated matter, Batavia PD announced this morning. 

The police are not releasing the name of the person or a description of the person because of "the very active nature of the investigation."

The police are not releasing further information about the case at this time, the department said in a statement. 

Morgan was found badly beaten in his room at 111 Liberty St., Batavia, at 11:15 p.m., Tuesday after police received a report of a disturbance. Mercy medics responded but Morgan, 47, who had two daughters and seven grandchildren, died at the scene.

According to family members, a person was seen fleeing through a second-story window and police officers, including a K-9, conducted a search of the area that night.

The day after the murder, two men living at 111 Liberty were taken into custody on alleged parole violations.

Funeral arrangments have been made for Morgan. Calling hours will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at H.E. Turner, 403 E. Main St., Batavia, with a funeral service at 1 p.m.  (Full Obituary)


May 18, 2018 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, murder, batavia, news, notify.


Nathanial D. Wilson Jr., 30, with a last known address on Chestnut Street, Batavia, has been charged with murder in the second degree in the stabbing death last night of Terry J. Toote, 41, of West Main Street, Batavia.

Toote suffered a knife wound to the center of his chest. Wilson suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.

Police are looking for the suspected shooter. There is a person of interest police would like to interview.

Det. Eric Hill said he couldn't comment on whether any weapons were recovered.

After Toote was stabbed, other people in the area came to his aid. People were yelling "call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1" and a citizen started performing CPR and continued CPR until Mercy EMS arrived on scene.

Police have not said what precipitated the confrontation last night but don't believe it is connected to an incident a couple of nights earlier where a group of people were jumped by a number of other people, at least two with baseball bats and one person with a gun.

Toote has a criminal record. He was recently released from state prison on a conviction for attempted sale of a controlled substance. He was charged in Orleans County. That was a second felony offense for Toote, according to Orleans Hub. He was arrested in Batavia in 2014 on a harassment charge.

We haven't been able to confirm yet whether Wilson had any prior arrests.

The incident started some time before 11:30 p.m., Thursday. A witness who lives on Pringle Avenue said she heard people walking down Pringle talking loudly. One said, "I apologized. I apologized." When the group reached Pringle and Central, she said it sounded like the argument escalated, then she heard three gunshots. She said when she looked down the street she saw an SUV leaving the scene quickly.

Another witness said there was a car parked on Highland and the driver yelled, "They shot my boy. They shot my boy." And then that vehicle left.

Toote was pronounced dead at UMMC by County Coroner Donald Coleman.

While Wilson was being treated at UMMC, investigators developed information that indicated Wilson was allegedly responsible for stabbing Toote. Once he was released from medical care, he was taken into custody and then arraigned this morning in City Court on the murder charge.

Shortly after midnight, there was a disturbance at the hospital. Family and friends of Wilson and Toote were involved, according to police. The hospital went on lockdown as a precaution. There were no weapons displayed or threatened. The parties were separated. No charges have been filed.

Central Avenue has been a hotspot of disturbances recently so just about 24 hours before the stabbing and shooting, police activated a recently installed camera, which became critical in gathering evidence for this case.

"Due to these issues, the Department installed a video surveillance camera in the area and had the street lighting enhanced," Batavia PD said in a statement. "The street surveillance camera was instrumental in this investigation. The Department has also received several other videos showing the incident from witnesses who will remain anonymous. These, too, were instrumental in aiding in this investigation."

The case is under active investigation and Hill said police have been busy following up on leads.

From the press release:

The Department would like to thank the New York State Police, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (ENCON), City of Batavia Fire Department, Mercy Medics and Genesee County District’s Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information in reference to the case may contact Detective Thad Mart at 585-345-6372 or the Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370 or online at http://www.batavianewyork.com/police-department/webforms/report-suspicio....

More information will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.

CORRECTION: We initially pubished the suspect's name incorrectly. The correct last name is Wilson. The story has been corrected.

April 18, 2018 - 11:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, murder, news, batavia.


At a press conference this morning (photo), officials with the Sheriff's Office asked for the public's help in locating the family of murder victim Sherri Colleen Butler and this evening investigators announced next of kin of been located and notified of Butler's death.

The 58-year-old woman was found dead Monday morning in her room at the Sunset Motel in Batavia, the victim of blunt force trauma to her neck.

The suspect remains at large.

Investigators are still seeking the public's helping in solving the murder case. Anybody with any information that might be helpful are encouraged to call (585) 343-5000.

Previously: Investigators trying to locate family of murder victim Sherri Colleen Butler

April 18, 2018 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, murder.

Investigators have been unable to locate the family of Sherri Colleen Butler, the woman found dead two mornings ago in a room at the Sunset Motel on West Main Street Road, Batavia, so they released her name today in the hope somebody will see it and contact them with more information about her.

As far as investigators know, Butler has been living at the Sunset Motel since the January 2014 when deputies first had contact with her.

She has a record of prior law enforcement contacts in Rochester.

Not much else is known about here, said Undersheriff Gregory Walker during a press conference this morning.

Butler is described as a white female, age 59.

She was last seen alive Friday or Saturday.

Emergency dispatch received a call at 11:57 a.m. Monday of an unresponsive woman in a room at the motel. One of the motel's owners, Kevin Bezon, went to check on her because she hadn't been seen in a couple of days.

Sgt. Ron Meides was the first officer on scene and he immediately determined Butler was dead and the circumstances of her death seemed suspicious.

A medical examiner has ruled her death a homicide. The cause of death was "blunt-force trauma to the carotid artery."

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said Butler had no other serious injuries. He would not say whether there was evidence of a related crime, such as robbery or sexual assault. 

There was no drug paraphernalia in the room.

There was no sign of forced entry. 

Brewster said no information will be released at this time on whether there is a suspect or suspects.

“It’s hard to assume whether it was somebody she knew or not,” Walker said.

Like all the residents of the motel, Butler paid her rent on a weekly basis. Co-owner Lynn Bezon said Butler always paid her rent on time and was a pleasant resident.

"She was a sweet lady," Bezon said.

Butler's prior police contact did include an arrest, according to available information. She was arrested in May 2014 for harassment, 2nd, and trespass. She was arrested in July 2014 on a warrant for criminal contempt.

Homicides remain rare in Genesee County. The most recent cases include the last one on Dec. 1, 2015, when Kyle Johnson killed Norman Ball on Selden Road in Le Roy. In December 2014, Baby Chandler died of head trauma and Jeffrey L. Deats was charged with manslaughter. A few days later, Deats took his own life while in custody. In 2009, Scott Doll killed Joseph Benaquist in Pembroke.

The unsolved murders in the county include Bill Fickel, Annie Lee, Eddie Freson and Kisha Sullivan.

Asked how he thought this case might be a hard case to solve, Brewster said, "I never go into one thinking I’m not going to win."

Solving the Butler case though may hinge, Brewster said, on the cooperation of people who aren't normally comfortable talking with the police.

"Because she lived in a motel unit and paid week-to-week, she would have been in contact with people that are similarly fixed and sometimes these people don’t really communicate with the police," Brewster said. "We’re hoping that when they realize this woman has been murdered that they may decide step outside themselves and help the police for once. They could be a big help to us if they decide to come forward."

April 17, 2018 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, murder, notify.


A woman was found dead, apparently murdered, at 11:57 a.m. yesterday at the Sunset Model, 4056 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

A medical examiner has determined the cause of death was "sharp force trauma to the carotid artery."

Yesterday morning a deputy responded to a report of an unresponsive woman in a room at the motel. Responding deputies determined she was dead and Coroner Jeffrey McIntyre responded to confirm her death.

The case has been ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. 

The woman has been identified by authorities but her name has not yet been released pending notification of family.

June 4, 2015 - 12:29pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in crime, batavia, murder, Attica.



Charlene Mess pled not guilty today in Wyoming County Court to the seven count indictment handed down by the Grand Jury. Mess is accused of murdering her husband Douglas Mess, April 19, at their farm in Attica. Douglas Mess was found dead April 20, following a missing persons report filed earlier that day. The 52-year-old farmer and Baskin Livestock employee was found stabbed, shot in the back of the head and buried under a pile of manure on the farm the couple owned and worked.

Charlene Mess is 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.

“There are seven counts in the indictment, with the most serious charge of murder in the second degree,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “The allegations contained that the murder was performed by Mrs. Mess with a small caliber, .22, weapon. The evidence revealed... The allegations are that Mr. Mess was shot in the back of the head. Mrs. Mess pled not guilty, which is typical at this state of the proceeding.”

Wyoming County Court Judge Michael Mohan set bail at $1 million cash or $2 million bond. It was stated that Charlene Mess sold all her livestock at a significant profit and therefore has the resources for the bail set.

“It is our understanding that those resources are tied up,” said Public Defense Council Greg Kilburn. “Mrs. Mess is a lifelong resident of Wyoming County, a graduate of Letchworth High School, is 48 years old, and has no criminal record. We submit bail to be set at $100,000.”

“Because of the possibility of the risk of flight,” Mohan said. “I will set bail at $1 million cash and $2 million bond.”

“With this type of case, the person, when they are facing life in prison, they are considered a very high flight risk,” O’Geen said. “Bail is about flight risk. I wanted to make sure that Mrs. Mess is where she needs to be until trial, which is hopefully in jail. However, she does have the opportunity to post bail and that would secure her attendance at future proceedings.”

It is alleged in the indictment that prior to shooting the victim in the back of the head with a .22 rifle, Charlene Mess struck Douglas Mess in the head and body with a pitch fork. It is then alleged that she tampered with physical evidence by attempted to hide the body by burying Douglas Mess in a pile of manure in the back of the family farm.

At this time, the DA’s Office does not know what happened prior to the murder.

“There is no indication that there was a domestic incident prior to this incident (the murder),” O’Geen said. “We do not know what happened prior to the events that took place.

“I want to state for the record that these are just allegations,” O’Geen said. “Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty of what they are accused of. We will find everything out in court.”

Both the DA’s Office and defense counsel will be in court at 9 a.m. on June 11 to argue a motion regarding the taking of a DNA sample from the defendant. Other motions made may be ruled on when the case resumes at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 6.

See related: Murder of Douglas Mess a big loss for Baskin Livestock 

See related: Attica woman charged with murder in missing man's death 

See related: Missing man found dead in Attica  

March 10, 2009 - 5:44pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in crime, pembroke, corfu, murder, scott doll, genesee county court.

 Scott Doll was arraigned in Genesee County Court Tuesday and entered a plea of not guilty.

Doll is the Corfu man that is charged with the murder of his friend and business parter, Joseph Benequist, on Feb. 16. 

Doll's attorneys asked judge Robert Noonan to allow him to post bail because he is a custodial parent to his 17-year old daughter, has a clean record and can afford the bail. 

"He's going to make every court appearance," Attorney Paul Cambria says in Daily News reporter Paul Mrozek's story. Doll, if released pending trial, will wear an ankle bracelet that can track his whereabouts with a global positioning system, his attorney said.

Doll is facing life in prison if convicted of the killing and Noonan has scheduled a bail application hearing for Wednesday, March 18.

February 19, 2009 - 2:43pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, pembroke, corfu, murder, courts.

Scott F. Doll has been indicted by a grand jury today on a count of murder in the second-degree, Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said. Doll is accused of killing his business associate and acquaintance, Joseph A. Benaquist, who was found beaten to death in the driveway of his Pembroke home early Tuesday morning.

An arraignment has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 4, at 2:15 p.m. in county court.

Friedman explained by phone that second-degree murder is "what you usually hear about" in such homicide cases. "That is the intentional killing of another person," he said. That is to be distinguished from first-degree murder, which would involve an intentional killing of a police officer or a judge, for example.

No weapon has been found yet, said Friedman. "But that's not necessary, just like a body is not necessary for a murder conviction. It is certainly something that will be looked for, but we can proceed without it."

It's still too early to say whether or not the case will go to trial. "It's the very beginning of the proceeding," said Friedman.

Doll was found walking along North Lake Road in Pembroke late Monday night "stained with fresh blood." A subsequent investigation led officers to the home of Benaquist, where they discovered the body. Doll was charged with second-degree murder the following afternoon.

Please see our initial post for the full details.

February 18, 2009 - 5:19pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, pembroke, corfu, murder, courts.

Officers were out at the scene today searching for the murder weapon in the death of Joseph Benaquist, Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha said. Scott Doll is currently in custody on the charge of second-degree murder for allegedly beating Benaquist to death two nights ago.

Maha informed us that investigators were "searching the area" around Benaquist's home at 683 Knapp Road in Pembroke to "see if (the weapon) had been discarded by Mr. Doll." No weapon has yet been found. Investigators also have yet to determine a motive for the alleged homicide. Benaquist and Doll both served as corrections officers, and they were in an auto sales business together. Maha stressed, however, that a motive "does not need to be established."

The case against Doll is being prepared for a grand jury hearing tomorrow. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman will present the case for indictment. If the jury decides to indict, Doll will then be arraigned in county court.

We haven't yet connected with Friedman for more details on the grand jury appointment tomorrow.

February 18, 2009 - 7:20am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, pembroke, corfu, murder.

We received the following statement from Corfu Mayor Todd Skeet by e-mail late last night. In full:

I would like to extend the sympathy and prayers of the entire community to the families affected by the recent tragedy in the Town of Pembroke.  We are a tightly knit community.  Now is the time to put their needs foremost in our hearts, minds and prayers.  We ask that everyone show the greatest respect for their privacy in the difficult days ahead.

Any requests for further official statements should be directed to the Genesee County Sheriff's office.  We ask that everyone be considerate and allow us all time to heal.

February 17, 2009 - 3:01pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, crime, police, sheriff, pembroke, corfu, murder.

Murder suspect Scott F. Doll was recently endorsed by Republicans to run on their ticket for mayor in the village of Corfu.

Doll was arraigned earlier today on a felony count of second-degree murder in the death of his business associate and former colleague, Joseph E. Benaquist, who was found bludgeoned to death in his driveway early this morning.

Please see our initial post for the full details.

Corfu Village Clerk Sandra Thomas informed us that Doll had only recently moved back to the village and had no prior experience in the government there. He was endorsed by the Corfu Republicans during a caucus that was held on January 26. Elections for the village are scheduled for March 17.

We left a message for Mayor Todd Skeet. We have not yet heard back. We also tried to contact Andrea Vogler, who was listed as the chair of the Corfu Republicans on the caucus information that was supplied to the county.

Doll's family has been prominent in the Corfu community, where they owned "Doll's Super Duper grocery store" for 40 years, as Scott DeSmit reports for the Daily News.

Officials have yet to release any more information on the business ties between the two men. They have only said that the two were "in business together," and that they picked up used cars at an auction at Clarence which they then sold to customers in the area.

A check at the Genesee County Clerk's Office yielded no significant results when we searched for business information related to Doll and Benaquist. Doll was, however, listed on a financing statement for a loan from Automotive Financing Corp., along with the business SF Enterprizes, which had a listed address of 3 Corfu Plaza.

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This is a look into that plaza from Route 33. We drove through and did not see any signs for a business by the name of SF Enterprizes.

Investigators were absent from the scene of the alleged murder this afternoon at the home of Joseph Benaquist in Pembroke. A lone dog was to be found at the house, chained up out front of the garage.

February 17, 2009 - 12:07pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, video, pembroke, corfu, murder.

PEMBROKE, N.Y. — Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha held a press conference this morning on the murder of Joseph E. Benaquist in Pembroke last night. Maha announced the imminent arrest of Scott F. Doll, who is in the process of being charged with second-degree murder.

Please see our earlier post for the full details.

February 17, 2009 - 11:02am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff, pembroke, emergency, corfu, murder.

PEMBROKE, N.Y. — A Corfu man who was found walking along North Lake Road in Pembroke soaked in "fresh blood" will be charged with the murder of a Pembroke man who was found bludgeoned to death in the driveway of his home early this morning, Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha said.

Scott F. Doll, 46, of 31 E. Main St., Corfu, will be charged with a felony count of second-degree murder in the death of Joseph E. Benaquist, 66, of 683 Knapp Road, Pembroke.

Deputies received a call last night at approximately 8:41 p.m. with reports of a "suspicious person" walking down North Lake Road in Pembroke. The individual, later identified as Doll, was "dressed all in camouflage" and carrying a car jack, a screwdriver and a lug wrench. When deputies arrived, they noticed that Doll's "clothes and sneakers were pretty well stained in what looked like fresh blood," said Maha.

"They asked him what was going on ... and the person was really quite evasive" said Maha. "The officers knew something wasn't right."

Deputies then determined that Doll had parked a van at a gas station on the corner of North Lake Road and Route 5. They found more blood inside the van and a pair of bloody gloves.

"So we had this person who was acting suspicious who had blood on him, so of course, we didn't buy his story, what he was telling us," said Maha. "So we started an investigation."

A relative of Doll's made comments that led officers to the home of Benaquist who was found dead "lying in a pool of blood in his driveway." Benaquist appeared to have suffered blunt trauma to the face and head.

Doll and Benaquist were acquaintances and "in business together" in an auto dealership that Maha believed to be located in Pembroke. The two men would purchase vehicles from an auction in Clarence, fix them up and then sell them, said Maha.

Doll is currently employed as a corrections officer at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, Erie County. Benaquist had retired from the same facility, where he also worked as a corrections officer.

Maha said it is too early in the investigation to believe that the auto dealership was the cause of the homicide. No neighbors had reported a fight between the two men last night. But Benaquist's home is "out in the country," said Maha, at least a hundred yards from its nearest neigbor.

Doll has "at least" two children, plus a sister and a brother who live in the area, said Maha. Doll was sent to Genesee County Jail without bail.

The investigation is ongoing. We will get up video coverage of the press conference within the hour.

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November 7, 2008 - 3:34pm
posted by Holland Land O... in crime, Holland Land Office Museum, books, Bethany, murder, Linden.

Much to my surprise today, local author, William F. Brown, Jr. came into the Holland Land Office Museum with a box of his classic book, The Linden Murders: Unsolved!

The book, originally published in 1984 and in its eighth printing, tells the story of a series of murders that rocked the countryside around the hamlet of Linden in the early 1920s.

The price of the book is $12.95 and will not be available for long. Get your copy immediately at the Holland Land Office Museum; they will certainly sell out before Christmas.

The Holland Land Office Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information, call us at 343-4727 or check out our website at www.hollandlandoffice.com

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