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2 from Holley plead guilty in overdose death

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 October 2019 at 9:29 am

ALBION – Two Holley residents pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Thursday for their roles in the overdose death of a Clarendon man.

Logan DiPilato, 28, and Kelly Hagberg, 31, of Holley pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Joe Cardone.

Hagberg admitted to providing fentanyl to DiPilato, who then sold four bags of it to a 35-year-old Clarendon man, which resulted in a fatal overdose on June 1. DiPilato admitted in court he knew the fentanyl was extremely dangerous.

As part of a plea deal, there are no sentencing promises. They could face up to 4 years in prison for criminally negligent homicide and up to 2 ½ years for criminal possession of a controlled substance. They will be sentenced on Dec. 19.

Both have no prior criminal convictions.

In other cases in court on Thursday:

Patrick W. Allen, 37, of Albion pleaded guilty to criminal mischief in the third degree, for intentionally causing $2,000 in damage to another person’s car on April 9.

Allen faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Dec. 19.

Rhonda Rushton of Spencerport was sentenced to four months of weekends in jail and five years probation for felony driving while intoxicated. She registered a 0.19 BAC on June 15 in Albion. She has a prior DWI in 2012 in Rochester.

• A Medina man was assigned as a Level 2 sex offender. Jeffrey Woodroe, 39, previously admitted to sexual contact with a girl under age 12 on a least two occasions between April 2008 and April 2012. He was sentenced to six months in jail on Aug. 22, as well as 10 years of post-release supervision.

As a level two offender, he will be on the sex offender registry the rest of his life. A level 2 offender is considered a moderate risk of reoffending.

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Judge sentences 3 to county jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 October 2019 at 2:56 pm

ALBION – Three people were sentenced this morning to time in the Orleans County Jail by County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Maria L. Lape, 25, previously pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

She was sentenced to a year in the county jail. Judge Church said Lape has been on probation twice before without success, and hasn’t been working, or pursuing an education or treatment program.

She also faces a $750 fine by the Department of Motor Vehicles and other court fines more than $500.

• A Depew woman who previously admitted to violating terms of her probation was sentenced to nine months in the county jail.

Jenna Zagara, 28, formerly of Lockport had been on probation for petit larceny, after allegedly racking up $1,905 in unauthorized spending on someone else’s credit card.

She still needs to pay $1,183 in restitution.

Best, the public defender, asked for less than nine months in jail for Zagara, but Church gave her the maximum sentenced in a plea deal.

“She showed complete disrespect for the people in probation.” The judge said.

• Coley Doward Jr., 35, of Medina previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI and felony AUO of a motor vehicle.

He was stopped in the Town of Shelby on Nov. 5. He didn’t have a license due to a previous DWI in 2007.

He was sentenced to four months in jail and five years of probation.

Prior to the recent charges, Doward didn’t have any arrests for nearly decade, Public Defender Joanne Best said.

• A former inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion was arraigned on two counts of second-degree assault.

Michael T. Hawkins allegedly struck a corrections officer in the face, causing a laceration with blood. He also allegedly had intent to prevent a CO from their lawful duty.

The judge set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond for Hawkins, who isn’t due to be released from prison until 2022.

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2 from Holley arraigned for criminally negligent homicide after overdose death

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 October 2019 at 2:17 pm

ALBION – Two Holley residents were arraigned in Orleans County Court this morning on charges of criminally negligent homicide after a Clarendon man died of a fatal overdose of fentanyl on June 1.

Logan DiPilato, 28, and Kelly Hagberg, 31, of Holley both also face charges of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Hagberg allegedly provided the fentanyl to DiPilato, who then allegedly sold four bags of fentanyl to a 35-year-old Clarendon man, which resulted in a fatal overdose.

DiPilato and Hagberg both entered not guilty pleas in County Court this morning before Judge Sanford Church. He set bail for both at $10,000 cash or $25,000 bond. They are currently in the Orleans County Jail.

Both have no prior criminal convictions.

They are to scheduled to next appear in court on Oct. 17 for a conference and a possible plea.

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Not guilty verdict for tow truck driver on trial for criminally negligent homicide

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2019 at 1:41 pm

ALBION – A tow truck driver has been found not guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Albion native Matthew Gardner.

Kevin Lupiani was driving a tow truck for A & M Automotive and Transmission in Murray when he went through a stop sign at about 10:30 p.m. on July 24, 2018 at the intersection the intersection of Fancher Road and Route 31A in Clarendon.

The tow truck hit the driver’s door of the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado truck driven by Gardner, who was killed.

Lupiani was on trial this week for criminally negligent homicide. He faced up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison if found guilty.

His attorney, George Muscato, argued in court that the crash was an accident and wasn’t the result of gross negligence on behalf of Lupiani.

“People are human, they make mistakes,” Muscato told jurors during his closing argument this morning. “If we are going to start charging people for criminally negligent homicide for driving a vehicle, we are all in trouble.”

Orleans County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Lupiani was driving 61 miles per hour when he hit Gardner. Muscato hired a forensics engineer to analyze the crash. Martin Gordon, an RIT engineering professor and owner of Gordon Engineering PC, did an analysis of the accident and determined Lupiani was going 54 mph, while Gardner was going 56.

Gordon also studied photos from the scene that showed the stop sign was off by a 15-degree angle which he said reduced the reflectivity by 20 percent. There also should have been a sign 990 feet from the intersection, warning drivers there was a stop sign ahead, Gordon testified on Thursday.

He also said bushes by the road were a visual obstruction, and the driving conditions were further challenged by the darkness, rain and patchy fog that night.

Robert Zickl of Genesee County served as special prosecutor in the case. He said the weather conditions should have caused Lupiani to drive well below the speed limit, which was 55 mph.

A reasonable person would have gone much slower, especially when driving an 11,660-pound tow truck, Zickl said.

Gardner’s vehicle weighed 5,426 pounds, less than half the tow truck.

Zickl said Lupiani should have been extra cautious as a professional driver with a very heavy vehicle.

“This accident took place because Mr. Lupiani drove an extremely heavy vehicle at an extremely high rate of speed into someone else’s lane,” Zickl said during his closing arguments. “If you’re operating a vehicle that weighs 11,660 pounds, we have a right to expect you’ll be more careful.”

Lupiani was headed to Geneseo to deliver batteries to another tow truck driver. Lupiani didn’t testify during the trial. Muscato, his attorney, said Lupiani wasn’t impaired by alcohol or drugs, and wasn’t using his cell phone. He blacked out when he drove through the stop sign, Muscato said in court.

Zickl challenged that, saying Lupiani recalled the phone number at the scene for Tony Manno, A & M owner, and was able to answer questions from deputies.

Zickl also said Lupiani was very familiar with the intersection through his job driving for A & M.

Muscato said he was sympathetic to Gardner’s family and loved ones. But Muscato said the accident should be considered an “accident,” not a crime.

“This does not rise to the level of gross conduct,” Muscato said.

The jury of 12 included 8 men and 4 women. They started deliberations at about 11:30 a.m. today and announced their verdict at about 1:15 p.m.

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Several facing sex crime charges in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2019 at 2:52 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Court docket this morning included several cases involving charges of sex abuse against children.

An Albion man appeared in court to have his bail set by Judge Sanford Church. Jarred Hodgins, 31, faces three counts of second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree criminal sex act.

Hodgins allegedly had sexual intercourse with an underage female in Carlton. He has two prior felonies involving drug charges.

“The charges in this case are completely contrary to anything he has been arrested for in the past,” said Joanne Best, the public defender.

She asked Church to set bail at $500, so Hodgins could afford it and continue to work at his job.

Church instead set bail at $20,000.

• An Albion man faces up to 10 years in state prison as part of a plea offer from District Attorney Joe Cardone.

Herbert Sewar, 54, faces first-degree course of sexual conduct for allegedly having sex with an underage female from 2005 to 2010. Sewar was given time to consider the plea.

• An 18-year-old man from Ridgeway pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the first degree and could face up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

The man could be eligible for youthful offender, which would seal his record. His name also shouldn’t be published.

The man today in court admitted to having sex with a 12-year-old girl. He will be sentenced on Nov. 25. He remains in jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

• A 19-year-old man from Lyndonville pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the second degree. The man was 18 when he said he had sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The judge could give him youthful offender status and seal his record.

The man faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 25. He remains free on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

• In another case, the judge set bail at $5,000 for Dennis S. Biaselli, 45, of Albion.

He was charged after a car accident on Tuesday morning, when he struck a utility pole on Zig Zag Road. He allegedly fled the scene but then returned to get his car.

Biaselli faces charges of felony driving while intoxicated, felony aggravated unlicensed operation, no license, leaving the scene of a property damage crash and using a car without a court-ordered Interlock device.

Biaselli has two prior felonies and 11 prior misdemeanors, Cardone said.

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3 are sentenced to Orleans County Jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2019 at 4:19 pm

ALBION – Three people were sentenced to the Orleans County Jail today by County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Regina Russell of Niagara Falls was sentenced to six months in jail plus five years of probation for her role in breaking into two farm labor camps in Carlton and Yates on Oct. 11. Russell and two co-defendants allegedly stole money, sneakers, a television and household items from farmworkers.

Judge Church is requiring Russell to pay $1,966 in restitution for 12 victims.

Her attorney, Brian Degnan, asked that she not go to jail and serve probation  only. But Judge Church said jail is warranted because she broke into two houses where people were living.

Two Medina residents who are codefendants in a drug case both were sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation.

Quincy Casanova, 22, of Medina and Brittany Osby Turner, 28, of Medina both pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. They are accused of selling cocaine from a hotel room.

Osby Turner is working full-time. Her attorney, Public Defender Joanne Best, asked that she be sentenced to weekends in jail and probation.

Judge Church said the crime warranted more than weekends in jail.

“You were selling drugs, and we all know what drugs do to people,” the judge said.

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2 plead guilty in County Court to drug crimes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 September 2019 at 11:26 am

ALBION – Two people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court this morning to drug crimes.

Joseph Newton, 33, of Medina pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree and attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree.

Newton faces up to four years in state prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 24.

He admitted in court today to having cocaine in Orleans County on Feb. 13 with the intent to sell it. He also admitted to stealing an outboard Mercury motor on Aug. 5, 2018, which was valued at about $1,200. Newton sold it for $1,000.

While he was an inmate, he attended a family funeral on May 21 and arranged to receive tobacco and a controlled substance.

Those items were allegedly placed under the body of a family member in her coffin. An investigator with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office overheard Newton arranging for the items during a phone call from the jail. The day of the funeral an investigator checked to see if the tobacco and two pills were under the grandmother’s body, and they were under her shoulder, according to investigator Ken Strickland.

Newton’s visit to the funeral was canceled and he was charged with attempted promoting prison contraband in the first and second degree.

In another case in court today, an Albion woman admitted to having precursors for making methamphetamine.

Linda Meise, 37, of Beechwood Boulevard at Oak Orchard Estates was charged on June 20, along with her husband Richard Meise.

Mrs. Meise admitted in court to having the precursors to make methamphetamine. She told Judge Sanford Church the couple made the meth for their own use.

She faces up to six months in jail when she is sentenced on Oct. 31 as a first-time felony offender.

Judge Church agreed today to lower her bail from $10,000 cash and $20,000 bond to $2,500.

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Inmate who allegedly punched corrections officer arraigned in county court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2019 at 3:19 pm

ALBION – A former inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility was arraigned for second-degree assault in Orleans County Court today.

Aniah Ferguson, 21, was taken to the emergency room at Medina Memorial Hospital on Feb. 15. While in the bathroom, her mechanical restraints were removed from one wrist. When a female correction officer tried to put the restraint back on, Ferguson allegedly punched her several times with her free hand, causing injuries to the CO’s head, including a bloody nose, and contusions to her eye, face and head.

Ferguson has since been transferred to Bedford Hills.

Judge Sanford Church set bail at $50,000 for Ferguson, who has two years left on a sentence for second-degree assault.

Ferguson in 2015 led an attack on a 16-year-old girl at a McDonald’s in Brooklyn. When she was at Rikers Island, Ferguson assaulted a captain at the New York City jail.

In other cases in County Court today:

• Two men from Niagara Falls were arraigned in Orleans County Court this morning for allegedly stealing three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

Michael Dubuc, 41, and Carlton Cook-Mckee, 26, both face charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Dubuc has a more serious previous criminal record with two prior felonies. That’s why Judge Sanford Church set bail for Dubuc at $20,000 and $10,000 for Cook-Mckee

• A Depew woman admitted to violating terms of her probation and could be sentenced to up to nine months in jail when she is sentenced on Oct. 3.

Jenna Zagara, 28, formerly of Lockport has been on probation for petit larceny, after allegedly racking up $1,905 in unauthorized spending on someone else’s credit card.

In September 2018, she was sentenced to three years probation. Zagara today in court admitted to using cocaine, alcohol and opiates. She also admitted to using profanity with her probation officer, and hasn’t completed a substance abuse treatment program, which was a condition of her probation.

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2 are sentenced in County Court for sex crimes against children

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 August 2019 at 2:21 pm

ALBION – Two men from Orleans County were sentenced to incarceration today for sex crimes against children.

Richard Hering Jr., 46, of Albion was sentenced to 2 years in state prison for first-degree sexual abuse. He also will have 3 years of post-release supervision and will be a registered sex offender.

On June 6, Hering entered an Alford plea, where he pleaded guilty while insisting on his innocence.

He maintained he didn’t commit the crime today during sentencing.

“There is no way I can win,” he said at sentencing. “I just wish they would tell the truth.”

The sentencing was delayed for about two hours after a letter was presented in court that was sent to Hering in the Orleans County Jail on Aug. 4. The letter was signed by the victim in the crime, and said “it was all lies” and Hering didn’t abuse her.

District Attorney Joe Cardone then had the victim testify in court. She said she didn’t send the letter and it wasn’t her hand-writing.

Hering said he had nothing to do with the letter.

“I don’t know where the letter came from,” he told Judge Charles Zambito of Genesee County, who presided over the case.

Cardone said the letter in latest effort from Hering to manipulate “various aspects of this case.”

Cardone said Hering should be sent to state prison.

Judge Zambito agreed, and gave him the maximum as part of the plea agreement.

“It’s clear you don’t accept responsibility,” Zambito said. “There is no question in my mind you are guilty as charged.”

Hering initially faced a 43-count indictment that included charges of rape and incest against a child and sexual abuse against three children.

Hering and Renee Koch, 55, were charged on Feb. 27, 2018 with forcible touching, sex abuse and act in manner injurious to a child less than 17 years of age.

Koch today was sentenced to three years on probation after pleading guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2010 in the Village of Albion.

Zambito issued an order of protection for the victim.

• A Medina man who pleaded guilty to course of sexual contact against a child in the second degree was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail, plus 10 years of probation.

Jefffrey Woodroe, 39, admitted to sexual contact with a girl under age 12 on a least two occasions between April 2008 and April 2012.

The victim of the crime spoke in court and said Woodroe violated her family’s trust and damaged her self esteem. However, she is determined to not let the crime define her.

“I will forever be a prisoner of my memories,” she said.

Woodroe apologized to the victim, her family and his family.

“I realize the acts are uncalled for,” he told Judge Samford Church, who presided over the case. “I feel so bad for the pain I caused.”

Woodroe’s attorney, Chris Privateer, asked that Woodroe not be sentenced to jail so he could continue working and supporting his family.

“Some crimes call out for punishment,” Church said. “This crime was so horrendous and it was for a duration of time.”

Church also issued an order of protection for the victim for the next 8 years, the maximum allowed.

• In other cases, an Albion man who was unsuccessful in a judicial diversion program was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for third-degree burglary.

Prince Wilson, 20, didn’t keep appointments with mental health and drug treatment as part of the diversion program.

His attorney, Nathan Pace, said Wilson didn’t have the support from his family to keep up with the program. Wilson has struggled with mental health issues since he was a young boy, Pace said.

He asked for probation for Wilson, who broke into an Albion gas station two years ago and stole about $60 of merchandise.

Wilson said he “wants to break the cycle I’ve been suffering for a long time.”

• A Medina man was arraigned on one court of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Jim Farewell, 31, allegedly had 2 ounces of cocaine on April 27. He is out on $10,000 cash bail, $20,000 bond.

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Medina man pleads guilty to DWI in high-speed chase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 August 2019 at 12:25 pm

ALBION – A Medina man pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court this morning to felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Jessy Miller, 32, allegedly led police on a three-county high-speed chase on March 4. He admitted in court today to drinking alcohol before driving that day.

Miller had five shots of fireball, cinnamon whiskey, that day. His blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent, about twice the legal limit, said Joe Cardone, the Orleans County district attorney.

Miller faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for felony DWI and AUO third. The time will likely be served with the sentenced in Genesee and Niagara courts.

Miller allegedly was driving a white Blazer on Main Street in Shelby on March 4. He was allegedly doing donuts in a yard on Main Street and hit a porch. He then took off with a passenger he refused to let out. He has to pay up to $2,797 in restitution for the damage to the porch.

Police followed him to Genesee County, where he was stopped. Miller refused to get out, but his passenger was able to get out of the vehicle. Miller then sped off, hitting the passenger with the door of the vehicle.

Miller then went to Niagara County, where he was found crashed on Mountain Road with injuries.

He is currently in Genesee County Jail on $25,000 cash and $50,000 bond.

Orleans is the first of the three county courts to accept a plea offer in the case. Miller will be sentenced in Orleans County on Oct. 24.

In other cases in County Court this morning:

Kyle Allport, 34, of Medina was arraigned on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Allport in August 2016 allegedly inappropriately touched a 6-year-old girl.

He pleaded not guilty to both charges today. The judge set bail at $10,000.

Stephen W. Miles, 56, was sentenced to 1 ½ years in state prison for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Miles allegedly had cocaine.

Miles has struggled with drug addictions for many years and already has served four state prison terms and been in the county jail several times.

His attorney, Mark Young, said Miles has worked to change the direction of his life through treatment programs.

“He is making a concerted effort to refrain from using drugs and I hope he continues on that path,” said Cardone, the district attorney.

Holly Bevins, 23, of Irondequoit was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for violating her probation by using drugs, missing probation appointments and leaving the county without permission of the probation department.

Judge Sanford Church urged Bevins to enroll in treatment programs in the state prison system.

Kayla Rowling, 28, of Medina was sentenced to a year in the county jail for attempted possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

She admitted previously to having cocaine on Nov. 28, 2018. She is a first-time felony offender.

Candido Candelaria III, 27, of Albion admitted to several probation violations including using cocaine, multiple times drinking alcohol and law enforcement contact on three occasions, including an arrest for aggravated harassment.

He faces up to 1 to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 3.

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