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county court

Holley woman sentenced to 3 years in prison on drug charge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2017 at 2:19 pm

ALBION – A Holley woman was sentenced to three years in state prison today.

Shawna N. Weis, 29, of Holley admitted in a previous court appearance to selling heroin on Feb. 6 when she was a resident of the Holley Hotel.

She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and faced a maximum of 1 ½ to 4 years in state prison.

Weis has a prior felony and two misdemeanors.

“She does have a serious drug problem,” her attorney Michael O’Keefe said during sentencing this morning.

Orleans County Court Judge James Punch told Weis she not only has a drug problem, but was selling drugs in the community. He ordered her to pay $200 in restitution to the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

Her sentence also includes two years of post-release supervision.

The judge also said he would recommend she receive drug addiction treatment at the Willard program through the state Department of Corrections.

• A Ridgeway man who was sentenced to state prison last week was resentenced today and received intermittent jail time, as well as probation.

Judge Punch had wanted to sentenced Richard C. Turrell, 62, to local jail and probation, but Turrell and his attorney requested the state prison and its drug treatment program through Willard.

Punch said a “legal impediment” required him to resentence Turrell, the owner of the Rick & Ron’s automobile business.

He was arrested last September. Turrell on May 22 admitted in court to selling cocaine. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

Turrell has “no substantial criminal history,” Punch said during sentencing last week. The judge said he didn’t think Turrell had reached the criminal level of going to state prison.

Turrell doesn’t qualify for Willard because he isn’t a second-felony drug offender or a first-time offender convicted of a B felony. Turrell pleaded guilty to a D felony.

The new sentence requires Turrell to spend two days a week in jail over four months, and be on probation for five years. Punch said the sentence allows Turrell to keep working and be in a drug treatment program.

Andrew Coley, 19, of Platt Street in Albion was sentenced to six months in jail for endangering the welfare of child after he allegedly had drugs in the presence of two underage girls at a motel in Albion.

Coley faces additional drug charges for allegedly selling crack cocaine in Orleans County. He has been arraigned on criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance  in the third degree, as well as criminal sale in the fifth. Those charges are pending.

• A Hamlin man was sentenced to intermittent jail over eight months, spending two days a week in jail.

Daniel F. Heberle, 45, of Lakeshore Road was charged with driving while intoxicated on Jan. 28 and allegedly had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.14 percent and was driving without a license. He was stopped on Norway Road in Kendall.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree.

The judge said Heberle’s crime warranted some incarceration, but Punch also wanted Heberle to be able to continue working.

He will be required to install an interlock ignition device when he starts driving again. That device measures his BAC.

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Man gets 4 years in prison after being first person charged with selling medical marijuana in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 July 2017 at 10:01 am

Murray man sentenced to 6 months in jail after assaulting woman

ALBION – A Rochester man was sentenced to 4 years in state prison on Monday, the maximum sentence as part of plea agreement.

Steven Jones

Steven C. Jones, 47, said he has fought drug addiction for 35 years. He was out of prison in 2008 and said he had avoided any police contact for nearly nine years until he was arrested in November, the first person to be charged in Orleans County for selling medical marijuana.

Jones was allegedly selling marijuana in both liquid and pill form, as well as prescription painkillers. He faced an 18-count indictment and has been in jail on $100,000 bail.

His attorney, Robert Fogg, asked Orleans County Court Judge James Punch to give Jones 3 ½ years in prison, the minimum mandatory sentence. Fogg said Jones has been “a model citizen” while in jail, causing no problems.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Jones was involved in several sales of opiate drugs in the county.

“We feel state prison is appropriate,” Cardone told the judge.

Jones said he has fought the pull of drugs for many years. He became hooked on drugs when he crushed his ankle and started taking pain medications, he told the judge.

“Addiction is a hard thing,” Jones said.

He is determined to stay off drugs in the future. He participated drug addiction program through GCASA while in jail. He apologized for his “illegal activity.”

“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he told the judge. “I’m sorry to my family who had to come all the way out of town to see me like this.”

Judge Punch gave Jones the maximum as part of the plea agreement – 4 years in prison and 2 years of post-release supervision. The judge said he would give the Department of Corrections the option of sending Jones to a drug treatment program at Willard. That will be up to the Department of Corrections, Punch said.

Jones also needs to pay $1,150 in restitution which was the “buy money” for the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

If Jones had gone to trial and been convicted, he may have spent most of the rest of his life in prison, Punch said.

The judge said Jones wasn’t only using drugs. He was actively selling drugs in the community.

“You are here because you sold drugs,” Punch said during sentencing. “You of all people should know the misery of selling these drugs. You are spreading the poison and misery you’ve endured to other people.”

In another sentencing on Monday, a Murray man was sentenced to six months in the Orleans County Jail for attempted assault in the third degree after a domestic violence incident on Jan. 1.

Todd J. Knight II, 25, of Hulberton Road admitted in court to injuring a woman. He caused a concussion, “massive swelling” on the right side of her head, a fractured rib, contusions and other injuries, Cardone said.

The woman has recovered which resulted in a shorter sentence for Knight.

Knight’s attorney Larry Koss asked the judge to sentence Knight to weekends in jail so he could continue working.

Koss said Knight has no prior criminal history, and has completed mental health counseling and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Knight apologized for his actions.

“I am ashamed of what I did,” Knight said during sentencing. “I will spend the rest of my life knowing I hurt someone I love.”

Judge Punch issued an order of protection for the victim and said Knight needs to go to jail for a “very serious assault.” If Knight had a prior criminal offense, he would have been sentenced to state prison, Punch said.

“I don’t like people who beat up women,” Punch said. “If you ever do it again you will get a long state prison sentence.”

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Arraignments set for Aug. 21 for deputy, sergeant facing grand larceny charges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 July 2017 at 10:16 am

ALBION – A sergeant and deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office will be arraigned at 2 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Orleans County Courthouse.

A grand jury on Monday handed up a 243-count indictment against two Orleans County deputies, who are accused of submitting false time sheets, log books and collecting pay for security work they didn’t perform.

Sgt. Dean Covis allegedly was paid about $14,000 and Deputy Thomas Marano was paid about $4,000 for security work when they were working shifts for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

The two were paid $20 an hour to provide security at the hydroelectric plant in Waterport. The facility is owned by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners.

Covis has been charged with 140 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree for allegedly submitting false time sheets and for making inaccurate log book entries for time in and time out, as well as for activities during his shift, said Lawrence Friedman, the Genesee County district attorney who is serving as special prosecutor.

Covis also faces one count of grand larceny in the first degree.

Marano faces 101 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree for submitting false time sheets and log book entries, Friedman said. The deputy also is charged with one count of grand larceny in the first degree.

The alleged crimes occurred near the end of 2013 through the beginning of 2015, Friedman said.

The State Police handled the investigation and charged Marano and Covis on May 17.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon is serving as judge in the case.

Covis and Marano were on paid leave, but were notified by the county on July 13 that they would be on unpaid leave but could be paid for unused vacation time.

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Sergeant, deputy face 243 counts for allegedly submitting false time sheets, collecting pay when not working off-duty job

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2017 at 2:47 pm

ALBION – A grand jury on Monday handed up a 243-count indictment against two Orleans County deputies, who are accused of submitting false time sheets and log books, and collecting pay for security work they didn’t perform.

Dean Covis

Dean Covis

Sgt. Dean Covis allegedly was paid about $14,000 and Deputy Thomas Marano was paid about $4,000 for security work when they were working shifts for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

The two were paid $20 an hour to provide security at the hydroelectric plant in Waterport. The facility is owned by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners.

Tom Marano

Tom Marano

The State Police handled the investigation and charged Marano and Covis on May 17 with first-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.

The alleged crimes occurred in late 2013 through early 2015, said Lawrence Friedman, Genesee County district attorney and special prosecutor in the case.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon is serving as judge after Orleans County Court Judge James Punch recused himself.

Covis and Marano have yet to be arraigned in County Court.

The indictment lists 140 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and one count of third-degree grand larceny against Covis. Marano faces 101 counts of falsifying business records and one count of third-degree grand larceny.

Covis and Marano were on paid leave, but were notified by the county on July 13 that they would be on unpaid leave but could be paid for unused vacation time.

The Sheriff’s Office is conducting its own internal investigation in the matter.

(This article was updated from an earlier version after Friedman provided more details in the case.)

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2 arraigned in County Court on drug charges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2017 at 12:13 pm

ALBION – Two women were arraigned in Orleans County Court on Monday for felony drug charges.

Shanya Beasley, 38, of Kingston Street in Rochester faced an 18-count indictment for criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal sale of cocaine in the seventh degree, and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

She is accused of being part of a crack cocaine pipeline from Rochester to Albion. She was arrested in May along with two co-defendants.

She has been free on $25,000 bail. Orleans County Court Judge James Punch is keeping bail at $25,000.

The other co-defendants have pending cases.

In another arraignment, a 58-year-old mother is accused of trying to sneak the narcotic Soboxone into the Orleans County Jail.

Mary Walton of Albion was arraigned on two counts each of promoting prison contraband in the first degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree. She pleaded not guilty on Monday to the charges.

Her son Joshua Grosskopf, 26, faces two counts of first-degree promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Grosskopf is serving a 6-month sentence for petit larceny.

Grosskopf was arraigned on July 3. He has two prior felonies. The judge set bail at $50,000.

His mother has no previous criminal history. The judge agreed to keep bail at $250, which was set at Town Court.

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Medina man, 22, gets prison for sex act with 13-year-old

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2017 at 9:19 am

ALBION – A Medina man was sentenced to 1 ½ in state prison for having criminal sex acts with a girl.

Peter C. Jones, 22, of North Avenue in Medina was 21 when he and the victim had a sexual relationship when she was 13 and 14.

Jones faced a 74-count indictment for the ongoing relationship. He pleaded guilty on July 3 to one count of criminal sexual act in the third degree. He faced a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

His attorney, Glenn Pincus, asked for probation during sentencing on Monday. Pincus said Jones had already spent a month in jail.

Pincus questioned some of the presentencing report from probation, including dissemination of indecent materials to minors. Jones faced 27 counts of that charge.

But Pincus said Jones didn’t disseminate any indecent photos. Any images that were “risqué” were taking on the girl’s phone, Pincus said.

He also objected to probation describing Jones as a drug user. Pincus said Jones was an occasional marijuana user, “which doesn’t rise to the level of abuse.”

The attorney said circumstances brought Jones and the girl together. They were often babysitting together when their physical relationship started.

Pincus said the girl was promiscuous with other partners. That drew a strong response from Judge James Punch, who told Pincus to stop disparaging the victim and her family.

Jones addressed the judge and apologized to his friends and family.

“I don’t want to be a burden to them, either,” he said. “Frankly, I’m sick of this and I want it to be over.”

The judge said Jones took advantage of an impressionable girl, and bears fault for her being “sexualized.”

“She didn’t consent,” the judge said. “It’s not legally possible.”

In addition to 1 ½ years in state prison, Jones was sentenced to five years of post-release supervision. He will also likely be a registered sex offender when he is released from prison.

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Ridgeway man, 62, gets request for prison sentence instead of probation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2017 at 8:01 am

Richard Turrell wants to tackle drug addiction at prison program

Richard Turrell

ALBION – An Orleans County Court judge was prepared to include probation as part of the sentence for a Ridgeway man facing a drug charge.

But Richard C. Turrell told the judge he preferred prison and its drug treatment program. Turrell wants to go to Willard drug treatment campus run by the state prison system.

Judge James Punch said he can’t require the State Department of Corrections to accept Turrell into Willard, but the judge would make the recommendation.

Turrell, 62, is the owner of the Rick & Ron’s automobile business. He was arrested last September. Turrell on May 22 admitted in court to selling cocaine. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. As part of a plea deal, he faced a maximum of two years in state prison.

Turrell said in court that he had the cocaine and it was shared by some of his friends. Sharing it with friends fits the legal definition of selling, Judge Punch said.

Turrell has “no substantial criminal history,” Punch said during sentencing on Monday. The judge said he didn’t think Turrell had reached the criminal level of going to state prison.

When the judge said that, Turrell’s attorney Robert King said Turrell wanted the Willard program in the state prison system.

It was a rare request, long-time court observers said, for a defendant to request state prison over local probation.

“I thought you would benefit from probation because you have a very limited record,” Punch told Turrell. “I will request Willard, but there is no guarantee you will get in.”

Turrell, after conferring with his attorney, said he wanted the state prison sentence.

The judge sentenced him to 1 ½ years in state prison. He also agreed to a request from Turrell’s attorney to not suspend Turrell’s driver’s license because Turrell needs it to keep operating the auto business when he is out of prison.

“It looks like you have a drug problem just like about every defendant these days,” the judge said. “It looks like you are serious about dealing with it.”

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Judge declines leniency for combat vet with 6 DWIs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 July 2017 at 4:09 pm

ALBION – Kevin A. Truesdell, 39, served his country with honor as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, his attorney told Judge James Punch today.

Truesdell, a Murray resident, earned three commendation medals and three achievement medals for his service, his attorney Gary Horton told the judge during sentencing this afternoon.

Truesdell developed a bad alcohol problem and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after his service.

He was arrested for DWI on Dec. 15 with a blood alcohol content at 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit.

Since his arrest he has completed an alcohol treatment program in the Orleans County Jail. He also completed a 45-day inpatient program with the Canandaigua VA and was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA in Batavia.

“We often see soldiers rise to the occasion in a combat zone, but when they get home their PTSD symptoms break out,” Horton told Judge Punch. “His drinking got out of control when he got home. He was self medicating with alcohol and he struggled.”

Truesdell has spent the past 4 ½ months in the county jail. He was picked as a trustee in the jail, allowed to do some jobs.

Horton asked that Truesdell be sentenced to time served, and be allowed to be on probation and enter alcohol and PTSD treatment programs.

“Kevin Truesdell does not represent a threat to the community at this point, especially if he gets treatment,” Horton said.

Truesdell addressed the judge and apologized for actions that were “dangerous and irresponsible.”

Truesdell said he will re-enroll in treatment programs through the VA.

Punch said he had “utmost respect” for Truesdell for his service in combat.

But the judge said he couldn’t be lenient given Truesdell’s DWIs, and failure on probation. He violated probation in Genesee County with the latest DWI.

“How do I answer the victims of the future DWI victims?” the judge said. “You are going to kill someone. Alcohol is the biggest enemy in your life, more than any Iraqi has ever hurt you.”

The judge sentenced Truesdell to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison, the maximum sentence as part of a plea deal.

He also lost his driver’s license and will have to install an interlock ignition device when he resumes driving. That device will check his BAC.

“Unfortunately, as decent a person as you are, you are a menace to society in your current condition,” the judge said.

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Rochester man pleads guilty to grand larceny after money taken from Clarendon vehicle

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 July 2017 at 11:17 am

ALBION – A Rochester man pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree and could be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

Devon Robinson, 23, admitted he was part of a break-in with a truck where cash was stolen.

Robinson said in Orleans County Court on Monday that he smashed the window of a truck in Clarendon on Oct. 19, 2016.

He said he then went back to the vehicle he was driving in while another codefendant took an envelope with cash from the truck. District Attorney Joe Cardone said $8,000 was stolen from the vehicle.

Robinson said in court he knew there was money in the truck after being told by two co-defendants in the crime. But Robinson said he didn’t know how much money, though he knew it was more than $3,000.

He told Judge James Punch that the other codefendants – Brionnah L. Raglan, 21, of Medina and Jade Fayko, 21, of Holley – both took some of the money. The cases against those two are pending in court. (Fayko declined a plea offer on Monday.)

The charge of fourth-degree grand larceny normally carries a 4-year maximum in state prison, but Robinson will face no more than six months in the county jail when he is sentenced on Oct. 2.

In other cases in court on Monday:

• Jenia Suarez-Jimenez, 25, of Telegraph Road in Medina was arraigned for criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

She was charged in April for allegedly selling hydrocodone in Medina and western Orleans County. The judge set bail at $10,000.

• Charles J. Knapp, 48, of East Center Street in Medina was arraigned on three counts each of criminal sales of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

He was arrested on March 1 after an investigation into the sale and distribution of prescription pills (Aprazolam).

Knapp has prior felonies, Cardone said. The judge set bail at $25,000.

• Allen Snook of Medina was congratulated for completing a drug diversion program, which resulted in a felony being reduced to a misdemeanor drug crime.

Snook finished a drug addiction program, stayed off drugs and has a job. He was praised by Judge Punch.

“Congratulations, Allen,” Punch said. “You did a great job.”

Snook told the judge he appreciated his help.

“Thank you for the opportunity to get my life together,” Snook said.

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Woman who was missing arraigned for endangering welfare of a child

Posted 11 July 2017 at 10:41 pm

Press Release, Undersheriff Chris Bourke

HOLLEY – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce that Alexandra L. Finnefrock, 24, and her son Joseph Theo Williams, 2 ½, have been located this evening in Rochester.

Working together with our law enforcement partners in the area, we were able to locate mother and son and bring this search to a safe conclusion for both parties. We in the law enforcement community would like to thank the community for their tips, information and support during this effort.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s would like to give special thanks to the Rochester Police Department, The United States Marshall Service Missing Person Task Force, The United States Secret Service, and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for their expertise and assistance in this case.

Alexandra L. Finnefrock was arrested on a warrant for endangering the welfare of a child and arraigned by Judge Passarell in the Town of Murray Court. Bail was set at $5,000 cash and Finnefrock is scheduled to return to the Town of Murray Court on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Her son has been turned over to family members. A temporary Order of Protection was issued regarding the child.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and Orleans County Child Protective Services will continue the investigation into this matter.

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