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county court

Ridgeway man pleads guilty to selling cocaine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2017 at 7:04 am

ALBION – A Ridgeway man admitted in Orleans County Court on Monday to selling cocaine.

Richard C. Turrell, 61, of Angling Road could face a maximum of 2 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 17. He was arrested in September. Turrell said in court that he had the cocaine and it was shared by some of his friends. “We all went in on it,” he told Judge James Punch.

Sharing it with friends fits the legal definition of selling. Turrell pleaded guilty to criminal possession of controlled substance in the fifth degree, which normally carries a maximum of 2 ½ years in prison.

As part of a plea deal, he will face up to 2 years and will spend time at the Willard drug treatment campus run by the state prison system.

Turrell, owner of the Rick & Ron’s automobile business, has been very cooperative in the investigation, said Joe Cardone, the district attorney.

In another case in County Court,

• An Albion man was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor after he allegedly stole cylinders last May 27.

Christopher M. Bescherer, 35, of Lattin Road was given 30 days to pay the restitution. He has a job with a landscaping business and said he can make the restitution.

His case was handled on Tuesday by Sara Sheldon of Niagara County. Bescherer completed counseling while in jail and said he wants to live a better life.

Sheldon said she would give him a chance.

“Jail doesn’t seem to work,” she said. “Maybe the light bulb went off.”

She said Bescherer will need to come back to court on July 17 to show he paid the restitution.

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Kent man who injured girl in hit-in-run given 2 years in county jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2017 at 1:39 pm

Jeffrey VanNostrand avoids state prison, but judge insists on incarceration

ALBION – A man who was called a model employee for the Village of Albion as a motor equipment operator was sentenced to two years in the county jail after a hit-and-run accident last August.

Jeffrey P. VanNostrand

Jeffrey P. VanNostrand, 52, of Kent avoided going to state prison for reckless endangerment in the first degree and driving while intoxicated.

However, the judge, Sara Sheldon from Niagara County, said VanNostrand has to do straight time in the county jail, and not weekends as suggested by VanNostrand’s attorney, Nathan Pace.

Sheldon presided over the case after James Punch recused himself. Punch was the district attorney in 1989 when VanNostrand was charged in a similar case of being intoxicated, hitting a girl with his vehicle and leaving the scene.

VanNostrand had been out drinking on Aug. 16, District Attorney Joe Cardone said. VanNostrand struck a child on a bicycle at 8:47 p.m. on Baker Road. The girl was injured and transported to Strong Memorial by Mercy Flight.

The girl doesn’t have serious injuries, but is returning to the hospital for additional tests next week.

“It’s hard to understand why he would put himself in this situation where he could have killed or seriously injured the victim,” Cardone said at sentencing this morning.

Pace was VanNostrand’s neighbor for 10 years. They are friends and Pace said VanNostrand is a hard-working person who cares for his family and community.

“I’ve witnessed him trying to lead an exemplary life,” Pace said. “For 27 years he has led a hard-working blue-collar life.”

Pace said VanNostrand didn’t realize he hit the girl until the following morning, and then turned himself in after seeing the media reports.

File photo: A girl injured in a hit-and-run last Aug. 16 was taken by Mercy Flight helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Cardone said he believes VanNostrand was aware he hit the girl that night, but went home to sleep off the intoxication.

Pace said VanNostrand has been praying daily for the girl’s recovery, and he hasn’t touched alcohol in over nine months.

“He has shown absolute remorse,” Pace said. “There’s deep feelings of sorrow for that family and that girl.”

Pace also presented letters of recommendation from the DWP superintendent, who praised VanNostrand for being a dependable worker and talented heavy equipment operator.

Pace asked that VanNostrand be sentenced to weekends in jail, for up to six years, so he could keep his job. But with a straight time sentence, Pace said VanNostrand would lose his position with the village.

The judge said she couldn’t agree to a weekend sentence because that it was the second time VanNostrand had committed such a serious crime.

“I think you’re a good man,” the judge told VanNostrand. “I think you’re genuinely remorseful. But the sticking point for me is you didn’t learn your lesson the first time.”

VanNostrand apologized in court to the girl and her family.

“I’m sorry things happened this way,” he said. “I’m trying my hardest to make myself better.”

The judge considered a 1 to 3 year sentence in state prison, but after conferring with the district attorney and Pace, opted for two years in the county jail, with a year each for DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.

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$250K bail for man facing rape charges against 16-year-old

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2017 at 11:05 am

ALBION – A Murray resident was arraigned in Orleans County Court on Monday on multiple charges of rape.

Joseph Quarella, 41, of Skyline Circle allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old girl between July and December 2016. Because he allegedly forcibly had sex with the girl, he faces two counts of rape in the first degree, two counts of rape in the third degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and six counts of sexual abuse in the third degree.

Quarella has a prior felony and other misdemeanors, District Attorney Joe Cardone said during the arraignment. He asked Judge James Punch to set a high bail.

Punch issued an order of protection for the alleged victim and set bail at $250,000.

In other arraignments in court on Monday:

• A Holley resident was arraigned on second-degree assault for punching another inmate in the Orleans County Jail in the head and chest.

Matthew Engert, 26, of Geddes Street allegedly assaulted another inmate in the jail on Feb. 14. Engert was in jail after being arrested for criminal possession of a weapon.

• Four people face promoting prison contraband after two people from Rochester allegedly tried to pass heroin and Alprazolam (also known as Xanax) to two inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility, a women’s prison. Alprazolam is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety.

A 16-year-old girl from Rochester allegedly had the heroin and Alprazolam in her bra when she was visiting Leona Brooks, 43, and Stacie Calloway, 46, both inmates in the prison.

Ashanti E. Kellum, 23, of Adams Street in Rochester also had a role in trying to bring the heroin and Alprazolam into the facility, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

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Medina man sentenced to 4 years for assault of corrections officer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2017 at 7:05 am

Sebastian Bonk also distributed counterfeit money in community

ALBION – A Medina man who injured a corrections officer and two nurses while eluding custody was sentenced to 4 years in state prison on Monday.

Sebastian L. Bonk, 25, was given the maximum sentence as part of a plea deal.

Bonk on March 13 pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument. He faced the forged instrument charge for knowingly distributing counterfeit 20-dollar-bills.

Bonk was in jail on Aug. 4, when he was taken to Medina Memorial Hospital for a health issue. Bonk was at the hospital at 11:20 p.m. when he ran out of the Emergency Department door, through the lobby and out of the hospital.

Bonk had pulled his leg shackles up higher on his legs to make it easier to run. Bonk was pursued by two nurses along with a correction officer. The nurses and corrections officer were able to catch Bonk and take him to the ground about 80 yards north of the hospital on Ohio Street. Bonk injured the three during the process, leading to him being charged with three counts of second-degree assault, which carries a maximum of seven years in prison.

As part of a plea agreement, Bonk faced a maximum of four years in prison.

“He does have a very rapid series of issues,” Bonk’s attorney Nathan Pace told Judge James Punch during sentencing.

Pace said Bonk struggles with fear, anxiety and drugs fueled the recent crimes. Pace asked the judge for leniency, less than the 4-year maximum.

“I’m not proud of my actions,” Bonk said during sentencing. “I regret my actions sank to those depths.”

Bonk said he was working on getting his life together but struggled after his grandfather died of cancer.

Punch said Bonk has a criminal history and the recent crimes were not impulsive acts. He said Bonk passed many $20 bills around the Medina community and also struck the corrections officer “with a series of blows.”

The judge sentenced Bonk to 4 years on the assault charge and 1 1/3 to 4 years for the forged instrument crime, with both sentences to be served concurrently. He also will have three years of post-release supervision.

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Ridgeway man who evaded police arraigned on numerous charges, including rape, strangulation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2017 at 4:54 pm

Gerardo Quiros being held without bail after arraignment

RIDGEWAY – A Ridgeway man was called “extremely violent” by a judge today during arraignment in Orleans County Court.

Gerardo Quiros

Gerardo Quiros, 30, of Ridge Road faces a 36-count indictment after he allegedly held a woman against her will in his home from March 15 to April 29.

He faces seven counts of first-degree rape, 23 counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, third and fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful dealing with a child and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Quiros entered a not guilty plea during the arraignment.

He is being held in the county jail without bail.

“The allegations are of such extreme volatility that I am concerned,” Judge James Punch said during the arraignment.

Quiros was subject of a manhunt after a report on April 29 that he attacked a woman in his house. Quiros fled before police arrived, leading to a massive police search of the area and a stay-in-place order for nearby residents. The search was called off after several hours when police determined Quiros was no longer in the area. He was arrested two days later in Lockport.

Quiros is accused of repeatedly raping and sodomizing the victim, and having drugs with a child present in the house.

Quiros has been free after posting a $200,000 bond. But Judge Punch said this afternoon he would hold Quiros in jail without bail.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said he believes Quiros has hidden weapons that weren’t found after a search warrant was issued for his house.

Punch issued an order of protection for the victim and told Quiros to have his weapons turned into police.

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Former security employee at Holley school pleads guilty to rape

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2017 at 4:27 pm

Adam Mesiti, retired Brockport police sergeant, admits to having sex with girl, 16

HOLLEY – A former security guard at Holley central School admitted in court today he had sex with a 16-year-old girl on Oct. 22, 2014.

Adam Mesiti

Adam C. Mesiti, 46, of Brockport pleaded guilty to third-degree rape today. As part of a plea deal, he will face no more than six months in the county jail, plus 10 years of probation when he is sentenced on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. He also will likely have to register as a sex offender.

Mesiti was arrested in early March, 60 counts of sex crimes – 10 counts of third degree rape, 20 counts of third degree criminal sexual act and 30 counts of sex misconduct.

Mesiti was employed by C.O.P. Security, a private firm contracted to provide security services at the Holley School District in 2014 when the alleged incidents took place.

The Holley School District and C.O.P. Security fully cooperated with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office during this month-long investigation, Undersheriff Chris Bourke said when Mesiti’s arrest was announced on March 4.

Mesiti appeared in court this afternoon with his wife and two sons.

As part of the plea, Judge James Punch asked Mesiti if he had sexual intercourse on Oct. 22, 2014 with the 16-year-old victim. Mesiti said he did.

He remains free on $1,000 bail. The judge issued an order of protection, with no communication allowed from Mesiti to the victim.

Mesiti’s attorney Christian Kennedy asked the judge to stop many of the unfounded allegations in the community against Mesiti. Punch said he wasn’t going to put a “gag order” on the case.

Mesiti, owner of Five Sons Winery/RG Brewery, stopped working out of the Holley school district following the 2014 school year.

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2 Orleans deputies arraigned on fraud for fake time sheets for security work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2017 at 1:35 pm

ALBION – Two long-time Orleans County deputies were arraigned in Orleans County Court this morning on charges of first-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.

Covis

Sgt. Dean Covis and Deputy Thomas Marano both entered not guilty pleas. They are accused of submitting false time sheets and collecting about $18,000 they weren’t entitled to for part-time security work for Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, which runs power plants in Orleans County at the Waterport Dam and in Medina.

Marano

The deputies were allegedly collecting their $20 an hour pay for the security work while they were also on the clock for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office from November 2013 to January 2015. Covis received about $14,000 and Marano about $4,000 for the security work while they were also working shifts for the Sheriff’s Office, according to The Daily News in Batavia.

The State Police handled the investigation and made the arrests on Monday, The Daily News reported.

Both have been suspended, Sheriff Randy Bower said.

“It is with great disappointment that I announce the arrest of two members of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office,” Bower said in a statement. “The arrest of Thomas Marano and Dean Covis, both Deputy Sheriffs, stemmed from a lengthy investigation into alleged conduct by the above named deputies during 2013 and 2014. The New York State Police conducted the investigation along with a Special Prosecutor assigned to the case.”

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

Sara Sheldon of Niagara County is serving as judge in the case with Lawrence Friedman, the Genesee County district attorney, serving as prosecutor.

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2 given multiple years in state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2017 at 4:24 pm

ALBION – Two people were sentenced to multiple years in state prison today for crimes in Orleans County.

Trevis Baker

A Rochester man received the longest sentence, 6 years, for selling crack and heroin.

Trevis D. Baker, 38, of Chili Avenue pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He faced a maximum of six years in prison as part of a plea deal, and County Court Judge James Punch gave him the maximum today.

“You are clearly profiting from the heroin epidemic,” Punch told Baker this afternoon. “You are a drug dealer and I feel it’s my responsibility to keep you off the streets for as long as I can.”

Baker allegedly sold heroin and cocaine to an informant from Orleans County between March 15 to March 24. He was arrested March 30 after an investigation into heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine sales in Orleans County.

The Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, along with Rochester and Albion police, raided Baker’s house and seized more than three ounces of cocaine, more than an ounce of crack, five bundles of heroin, a loaded pistol, more than $8,000 cash and drug paraphernalia.

Michael Thompson

In the other sentencing today, a Medina man was given four years in state prison for second-degree assault.

Michael Thompson, 49, was out of jail and awaiting sentencing for a drug crime when he was arrested on Sept. 7 after allegedly getting in an altercation with another person and stabbing that person, causing non-life-threatening injuries.

(He has since been sentenced to two years in state prison for the drug charge – criminal possession of a controlled substance.)

Thompson was scheduled to go to trial for the assault charge. If found guilty he could have faced up to seven years in state prison. Thompson agreed to a plea deal before the trial, with the maximum set at four years.

Judge Punch gave Thompson the maximum as part of the plea agreement.

“I’m sorry to the court for what happened,” Thompson said. “I’m not a violent person.”

Punch said Thompson has a long criminal history, and the latest incident was a violent crime.

Both Thompson and Baker also need to pay $325 court surcharges and $50 DNA fees.

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Cardone won’t seek county judge position

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 May 2017 at 9:09 pm

Joe Cardone

ALBION — Joe Cardone, the Orleans County district attorney, said he is happy in his job and won’t be seeking the impending vacancy for county court judge.

James Punch announced he is retiring on July 29 after nearly 27 years in judge for Criminal Court, Family Court, Surrogate Court, and some State Supreme Court cases.

Punch, before he was judge, served as district attorney for five years.

Cardone praised Punch for his service to the community. Cardone, however, won’t be following Punch’s trajectory, going from DA to county judge.

“I love my job and the people I work with,” Cardone said today.

Cardone has been district attorney for about 25 years. The DA was re-elected in November to another four-year term. He didn’t face any opposition.

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Union for corrections officers says contraband, drugs becoming bigger issue at Orleans prison

Staff Reports Posted 12 May 2017 at 5:36 pm

ALBION – Correction officers were injured in three separate incidents at Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion, the NYS Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association said in a news release today.

The union worries that more illegal drugs are making their way inside the prison.

“In the past three months alone at Orleans, we have had 106 inmates fail urine tests because of illegal substances,” said Joe Miano, Western Region Vice President for NYSCOPBA. “Obviously, DOCCS Administration must do more to stop the influx of contraband inside the walls or these type of incidents will continue to occur.”

The first incident occurred on April 28 at approximately 10:15 p.m. at the Orleans Correctional Facility. An officer conducting his count for the evening found an inmate unresponsive in his cell. Officers entered the inmate’s cell and it appeared he was on some type of illegal substance, the union said.

The officers got the inmate to his feet and were escorting him to medical to get checked out when an officer observed the inmate reach into his pocket and place a balloon like material into his mouth.

The officers began to struggle with the inmate as they attempted to get him to spit out the substance. The inmate was taken to the ground. On the ground, the inmate bit an officer’s left hand. A second officer injured his thumb in the struggle, NYSCOPBA said.

The inmate was placed in restraints and frisked. He was found with three additional cellophane bags on him that officers believe contained synthetic marijuana.

The officer who was bitten was treated at Medina Memorial Hospital. He was treated, released and returned to duty.

The inmate, whose name is not being released, is 24 years old and is serving a four-year sentence after being convicted of Assault 1st in Bronx County in 2016.

In another incident at Orleans, on May 7 at approximately 4:40 p.m., an officer heard yelling near one of the cubes in the dorm at Orleans. He observed an inmate running to the back of the dorm and fall to the floor.

The officer responded and found the inmate unresponsive. He called for medical immediately. Still with the inmate, the officer observed him begin to yell and violently thrash his body. The inmate attempted to get off the floor several times. As the officer attempted to help the inmate, he was violently kicked directly in his face, the union said.

Medical personnel arrived on the scene and the inmate became calm and was placed in restraints. The injured officer was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital for treatment of a lacerated lip and bruising on his face. He was treated and released.

The inmate, 22, who was believed to be on synthetic marijuana at the time of the incident, is serving a five-year sentence for Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Assault 2nd and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd after being convicted in 2014 in Niagara County.

The third incident occurred on May 8 at approximately 8:15 a.m. Acting on a tip, an officer was going to search the living quarters of Inmate Anwar Cohen for illegal drugs. The officer entered the dorm and located Cohen on the phone. He was ordered to the wall to be frisked, NYSCOPBA said.
The officer located four baggies that contained synthetic marijuana and Percocet pills in his pocket. The inmate was placed in restraints and additional officers responded to the scene. As Cohen was going to be removed from the dorm, he kicked backwards and hit an officer in the shin. Three officers attempted to get the inmate under control but he struggled with them. During the struggle the officers and Cohen fell to the ground where he then became compliant.

Cohen, 38, was removed from the dorm and faces disciplinary charges. He is serving a 10-year sentence for Burglary 1st and Robbery 1st after being convicted in Suffolk County in 2011.

“Contraband continues to be a serious problem at all state prisons,” stated Miano, Western Region VP for NYSCOPBA. “Since 2010, we have almost doubled the amount of contraband seized in our facilities.”

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