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2 plead guilty in county court and could face prison sentences

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2020 at 5:27 pm

ALBION – Two people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court as second-felony offenders and could be sentenced to prison.

John Crossley, 68, of Medina pleaded guilty in court today to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He admitted to having crack cocaine with the intent to sell it.

He faces up to 1 ½ years in prison plus 1 to 2 years of post-release supervision when he is sentenced by County Court Judge Sanford Church on April 2.

In court on Wednesday, Michael Dubuc, 41, of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth-degree. He admitted to be part of a group of three that stole three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

He could face 1 ½ to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 19. He was to go to trial beginning on Jan. 27 before pleading guilty on Wednesday. Dubuc was facing charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

A Medina man was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 3 years of probation for endangering the welfare of a child. Kyle Allport, 34, was facing a charge first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Allport is accused of inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl in August 2016. He maintained his innocence and entered an Alford plea, where he pleads guilty without admitting guilt.

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Inmate sentenced to more time in prison for assault on corrections officer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2020 at 2:26 pm

ALBION – A former inmate in the Orleans County Jail was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison today for an assault on a county corrections officer.

Valerie Allen, 32, admitted to punching a female corrections officer on April 8, and also to biting the officer’s finger and pulling her hair. Allen was charged with second-degree assault.

Allen was in the county jail awaiting sentencing after she pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment of an employee by an inmate. She admitted in court previously to throwing urine and toilet water at corrections officers on Oct. 13, 2016.

She was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison on that charge. She has been at the Albion Correctional Facility since April 22.

Allen is a Allegany County native who also previously was convicted unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamines in the third degree.

“You continue to have a lack of respect for authority and the rules for society,” County Court Judge Sanford Church told Allen at sentencing today.

Also in court, the judge set Jan. 27 for the start of a trial against a Niagara Falls man who allegedly stole three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

Michael Dubuc, 41, faces charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

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Ricks pleads guilty to manslaughter for assault of child in 2002

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 January 2020 at 10:19 am

DeVante Boston lived 15 1/2 years with severe disabilities before his death at age 20 in 2017

David Ricks

ALBION – A former Medina man pleaded guilty this morning to manslaughter in the first degree.

David Ricks, 41, admitted in court today he picked up a 4-year-old boy, DeVante Boston, and threw him to the floor in May 2002 after an argument with the boy’s mother about disciplining the child. Ricks was 24 at the time and was the boyfriend of DeVante’s mother.

“I took him from his mother and threw him to the floor,” Ricks told Judge Matthew Murphy of Niagara County, who is handling the case.

DeVante was never the same after that. He would live 15 1/2 years in a vegetative state. He was left unable to walk or talk after the assault. He stayed in a healthcare facility in Buffalo and functioned at about a 6-month-old’s level.

DeVante died at age 20 on Oct. 27, 2017 and the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office said DeVante’s death was caused by his injuries when he was 4.

Ricks was released from state prison this summer after serving nearly 17 years after being convicted of first-degree assault in 2003.

He has been in the Orleans County Jail since his release from prison. He is being held without bail.

As part of a plea agreement today, he will face up to 25 years for the charge of manslaughter in the first degree. The nearly 17 years in prison will count toward that sentence so Ricks could face up to 8 years more in prison.

He was arraigned in County Court on May 22 for second-degree murder, for causing the severe injuries that led to the death of DeVante. With that charge, Ricks faced 25 years to life in prison.

As part of the plea today, Ricks agreed to not appeal the sentence.

A delayed death provision allows for murder charges to be filed when a person assaulted dies after the perpetrator is convicted of a lesser crime. District Attorney Joe Cardone said it is used in court, typically in cases where a death wasn’t long after a conviction for an assault charge.

The DA said Ricks recklessly caused the injuries, forcing DeVante to be severely disabled the rest of his life. And those injuries ultimately led to DeVante’s premature death, Cardone said.

Ricks is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. on March 2.

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Courthouse entrance will change next week to rear, ground entrance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 December 2019 at 1:50 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The front entrance of the Orleans County Courthouse is shown today at about noon. The courthouse was built in 1858.

The state Unified Court System, Eighth Judicial District, is changing the main entrance to the building. Beginning Jan. 1, the front of the building will be closed to the public, who will instead need to enter through a rear, ground entrance.

The front entrance facing East State Street has tall steps and isn’t handicapped accessible.

The public on Jan. 1 will need to enter the Orleans County Courthouse from the doors through the County Clerks Building, which is next to the courthouse, on East Park Street.

That entrance takes people through a security screening and then to an elevator in the basement of the courthouse. That elevator goes to the second and third floors, where there are courtrooms.

“The relocation of the public entrance will enhance security screening and allow for greater ease of public access to the Court,” the Eighth Judicial District said in a news release.

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Albion man gets year in jail for intentionally damaging another person’s car

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 December 2019 at 5:10 pm

ALBION – An Albion man was sentenced to a year in the Orleans County Jail last week for intentionally damaging another person’s car on April 19 and causing $2,000 in damage.

Patrick Allen, 37, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief in the third degree on Oct. 17. He needs to pay $2,000 in restitution. He was sentenced by County Court Judge Sanford Church.

In other cases:

Coty Read, 28, of Albion pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He was discovered with a loaded .22-caliber handgun in October. He was stopped by law enforcement after he failed to stop at a traffic light.

Read admitted in court last Thursday to having the gun. He faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on March 12. He is currently free on $25,000 bail.

Kristen DeMay, 31, of Rochester pleaded guilty to petit larceny for stealing makeup, clothing and other items from the Albion Walmart in June 2018. She allegedly took the items despite there being an order for her to stay away from Walmart stores.

She could be sentenced up to 364 days in jail when she is sentenced on March 12.

Deon Jackson, 20, of Medina was arraigned on two counts of burglary in the first degree, one count of robbery in the first degree, one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

He allegedly entered a Medina residence without permission on July 3 with a BB pistol, and took $1,700 in cash.

Jackson is in the county jail on $50,000 cash bail.

Brooke Maynard, 19, of Albion was arraigned for criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree. She and a codefendant – Jacob Twardowski, 19, of Albion – allegedly had 19 ounces of marijuana. No bail was set for Maynard.

Kelly Rados, 43, of Medina was arraigned on two counts each of forgery in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, and offering a false instrument in the first degree.

Rados allegedly forged a bill of sale for a vehicle and a Department of Motor Vehicles form. She has been released own her own recognizance.

Jared Brannan, 35, of Albion was arraigned on one count of grand larceny for allegedly stealing $1,400 worth of merchandise from the Albion Walmart.

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2 from Holley sentenced to state prison for overdose death

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2019 at 2:32 pm

ALBION – Two people who had a role in the overdose death of a Clarendon man on June 1 were each sentenced to up to 4 years in state prison today by Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Logan DiPilato, 28, and Kelly Hagberg, 31, of Holley were sentenced for criminally negligent homicide (1 ½ to 4 years in state prison) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree (2 ½ years in prison). The sentences will be served concurrent or at the same time.

District Attorney Joe Cardone told the judge that prison was warranted in the case due to the defendants putting fentanyl into the community, knowing the drug was highly dangerous. Cardone said their actions were “reckless.”

Hagberg admitted to providing fentanyl to DiPilato, who then sold four bags of it to Mark Kinsey, 35, which resulted in a fatal overdose.

“I’m so sorry for what my actions have done,” Hagberg said at her sentencing this afternoon in County Court. “If I could take it back I would.”

Hagberg said she has been sober the past five months and that time has shown her just how destructive her lifestyle was.

Logan DiPilato also apologized during his sentencing in the morning. He said he has been battling drug addiction for several years.

“Absolutely I feel so regretful for my actions against Mark Kinsey and his family,” DiPilato said at sentencing. “There is nothing I can say to bring rest to his family.”

Public defender Joanne Best said DiPilato has felt the pain of losing a loved one to an overdose. His brother, Dylan DiPilato, was 31 when he died suddenly on April 11.

Both Logan DiPilato and Hagberg have no prior felony convictions. Best, the public defender, said Logan is determined to break the cycle of addiction.

“He has always been extremely empathetic and sympathetic,” Best said about his remorse for Kinsey’s death.

Leigh Kinsey and her husband Chuck Kinsey are Mark’s parents. In a statement to the court, Mrs. Kinsey said Hagberg and DiPilato both deserve a life sentence in prison.

She said the loss of their son has been devastating to his parents, siblings, friends and the community.

Mark had returned home with his parents the last five weeks of his life while in recovery.

“He had many personal struggles and challenges over the 35 years of his life, and he was in recovery and finding a new direction for his life,” Mrs. Kinsey said. “He was not using, he was gaining weight and working a steady job as a cook.”

She said Hagberg and DiPilato knew Mark was vulnerable, trying to fight his addiction.

“We are all part of the community of recovery from substance use disorder,” Mrs. Kinsey said. “No one is exempt. This is a national epidemic, well publicized in the news. Each one of us has a responsibility to help each other in recovery. To take advantage of someone in recovery by selling them fentanyl is a betrayal of that responsibility and the community.”

She called it murder to sell fentanyl disguised as heroin to someone struggling to maintain his recovery.

“Our family has a life sentence – a life without our dear Mark, his precious smile, infectious laugh, and loving heart,” she said. “There is not been a day since June 1, 2019 where he have not grieved and cried. We are in grief counseling and will continue to be for a long time. This is our sentence.”

Judge Church gave Hagberg and DiPilato the maximum through a plea deal, rebuffing a suggestion from Best for a sentence of probation or the Willard drug treatment program in the state prison system.

“You knew it was fentanyl and you knew it was dangerous,” the judge told DiPilato. “There has to be penalties for this conduct especially when it leads to someone’s death.”

The judge had similar words for Hagberg, faulting her for putting a lethal drug in the community.

In addition to the prison sentence, DiPilato and Hargberg will both have 1 year of post-release supervision.

The Kinseys also asked for $12,000 in restitution for their son’s funeral expenses. That request was withdrawn because Judge Church said the request for restitution wasn’t made as part of the plea agreement on Oct. 17.

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Albion man faces 24-count indictment for rape, criminal sex acts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2019 at 2:52 pm

ALBION – An Albion man was arraigned in Orleans County Court on Thursday on a 24-count indictment that includes multiple counts of rape and criminal sex acts.

Jarred Hodgins, 32, allegedly had sex with a girl under the age of consent. He was arraigned on two counts of second-degree rape, 10 counts of third-degree rape, two counts of criminal sex act in the second degree, and 10 counts of criminal sex act in the third degree. He also has been charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Judge Sanford Church set bail at $20,000, which Hodgins has already posted from a lower town court.

Other people arraigned in court on Thursday include:

Tashira Allen, 36, of Medina for criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree for allegedly having two ATVs, three trailers, a golf cart and a dirt bike that weren’t hers. Her husband, Anthony Allee, is a co-defendant in the case.

Mr. Allee also is facing federal charges. He has been charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, marijuana, hydrocodone, and cocaine, unlawful possession of a machine gun, and unlawful possession of a stolen firearm, which carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum of life.

Dakota Baker, 24, of Albion who was arraigned for criminal mischief for allegedly causing about $7,000 in damage to an apartment on West State Street.

Arthur Draper, 48, of Lyndonville who was arraigned for grand larceny in the third degree for allegedly collecting more than $8,000 in unemployment benefits he wasn’t entitled to through the state Department of Labor.

Jacob Twardowski, 19, of Albion who was arraigned for criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree for allegedly having 19 ounces of marijuana.

Jason Pullen, 35, of Rochester who was arraigned for grand larceny in the fourth degree for allegedly stealing a trailer.

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Medina man sentenced to 5 years in prison after injuring infant son

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2019 at 2:06 pm

ALBION – A Medina man was sentenced to five years in state prison today by Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Erik Warren, 30, of Ridge Road was given the maximum sentence as part of a plea agreement for reckless endangerment of a child.

Warren allegedly shook a month-old baby and dropped the baby on the floor in February, causing brain damage. The child suffered a traumatic brain injury with vision and hearing impairments, Judge Church said. The boy is in foster care and continues to receive medical treatment.

Warren apologized for his actions.

“I realize I have failed as a father, as a man and most importantly as a human being,” Warren said at sentencing. “I’m hoping for a second chance to be a wonderful father.”

Warren has taken anger management classes and maintains a full-time job.

“He is trying to improve himself and his financial situation,” said Joanne Best, the public defender.

She said the baby has made progress, by gaining weight and responding to visual stimulation.

Judge Church said the child suffered a very serious brain injury and remains in “a life-threatening situation.”

The judge said he was also puzzled why Warren went on national television show with The Steve Wilkos Show and denied he hurt the child.

The judge’s sentence also includes three years of post-release supervision. Church also issued an order of protection for eight years for the child when Warren is released from prison.

As part of the plea deal, Warren won’t face more serious charges if the child ultimately doesn’t survive the injuries.

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Albion corrections officer pleads guilty to criminal sex act with inmate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2019 at 11:47 am

ALBION – A corrections officer at the Albion Correctional Facility pleaded guilty today to a criminal sex act with an inmate and faces a maximum to six months in jail and five years of probation.

David F. Stupnick, 26, of Medina allegedly had inappropriate sexual relations with two female inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility. He admitted to receiving oral sex from an inmate and pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sex act in the third degree.

He was arrested on May 17 by State Police and was charged with four counts of sex abuse in the 2nd degree, two counts each of criminal sex act in the 3rd degree and official misconduct.

Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church issued orders of protection for two victims in the case.

Stupnick will be sentenced in County Court on Feb. 20.

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2 sentenced to state prison for attempted rape

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2019 at 1:45 pm

ALBION – Two men from Orleans County were sentenced to state prison today for attempted rape.

Ean Hofmeister, 18, of Ridgeway was sentenced to 5 years in state prison for attempted rape in the first degree, plus 15 years of post-release supervision..

He allegedly had sex with a 12-year-old girl who became pregnant. The victim would have a miscarriage. She said in a victim statement read to the court she became isolated from friends, gained weight, and didn’t want to leave her house after the rape.

The judge declined to give Hofmeister youthful offender status. Judge Church said Hofmeister hasn’t taken responsibility for the crime and pursued help through the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse or the Mental Health Department.

The judge also issued orders of protection for the victim and her mother for 8 years.

Christopher Allis, 19, of Lyndonville was sentenced to 4 years in state prison plus 5 years of post-release supervision for attempted rape in the second degree. Allis was 18 when he said he had sex with a 14-year-old girl. That girl, now 15, gave birth to his child earlier this month.

County Court Judge Sanford Church declined given youthful offender status to Allis, and also issued an order of protection for the victim.

Church said Allis hasn’t accepted responsibility for the crime and wouldn’t participate in an evaluation to determine if he had any underlying issues as part of the criminal behavior.

Public Defender Joanne Best said Allis took responsibility by admitting to the crime in a September court appearance.

• A Niagara Falls man was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for burglary and grand larceny. Carlton Cook-Mckee, 26, and two other defendants are accused of stealing three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

Cook-Mckee has to pay $5,500 in restitution for the crime.

Diustrict Attorney Joe Cardone asked for state prison for Cook-Mckee, who Cardone said stole the dirt bike to support a drug addiction.

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