4 sentenced to state prison for crimes in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Four people were sentenced to state prison by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch today with a Niagara Falls man getting the longest sentence.

Robert Wright, 23, of Niagara Falls was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Wright faced charges of first-degree burglary, criminal possession of a firearm, petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree for alleged crimes that occurred in Medina on June 16.

He went to trial and was found guilty. He apologized for the crimes and to the victims today in court.

Wright is a second-felony offender with a previous conviction in Genesee County on March 25, 2010.

Punch said Wright is “a very dangerous person” and the latest felony “is a very serious crime” that the judge considered a home invasion. He said Wright has not taken responsibility for the crime “in a meaningful way.”

In addition to the state prison sentence, Wright will have five years of post-release supervision. Punch also issued two orders of protection for the victims in the crime.

In other cases today, Judge Punch sentenced the following:

A Medina man was sentenced to 5 years in state prison for attempted burglary in the second degree.

Joey Johnson, 28, of South Avenue admitted in a previous court appearance to breaking into the home of an elderly Albion couple and stealing some of their possessions, including a safe with $10,000.

The charge, a Class E violent felony, normally carries a maximum sentence of 2 to 7 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal, Johnson was to face no more 5 years in state prison. Punch gave him the maximum as part of the plea.

A Hamlin man was sentenced to 4 years in state prison. Joel E. Johnson, 31, admitted he sold cocaine in Monroe County and Holley in transactions arranged with a confidential informant in Orleans County.

He pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a charge that normally carries a sentence up to 5 1/2 years in state prison.

Johnson’s attorney Nathan Pace said Johnson completed probation successfully 11 years ago when he was 20 and had been out of trouble since then, working full-time. However, Johnson lost his job and “acted out of circumstances” in selling drugs, Pace said.

Punch said for probation to be successful it has to have a long-lasting effect.

“It looks to me like you’re a pretty significant seller of hard drugs in Orleans County,” Punch said during sentencing. “You’re completely self-centered and you’ve profited from selling this poison in our community.”

An Albion man was sentenced to 1 ½ years in prison for third-degree criminal sale of marijuana.

Charles A. Santiago, 27, of 214 North Main St. previously admitted to selling marijuana in excess of 25 grams on May 28. He is a first-time felony offender.

Santiago has been on probation three times. Punch said prison was needed.

“At some point you didn’t reach a turning point while on probation,” the judge said. “You’ve been given chances over and over again and you never took a chance to get straightened out.”