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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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Inmate admits to assaulting corrections officer while at hospital

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 November 2019 at 12:02 pm

ALBION – A former inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility admitted to striking a corrections officer with a closed fist several times on Feb. 15.

Aniah Ferguson, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in Orleans County Court this morning. She will face an additional 1 ½ to 3 years in prison when she is sentenced on Feb. 6 by County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Ferguson 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.

District Attorney Joseph Cardone said the correction officer suffered “substantial pain” from the attack and needed medical treatment. She also missed work and needed to take pain medication.

Ferguson is in prison after an incident in 2015 when she 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:

• An Oakfield man was arraigned for two counts of felony driving while intoxicated, one count of aggravated DWI (for BAC above 0.18) and one count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Troy Bailey, 50, was charged on July 27 on Main Street in Shelby. He was allegedly driving drunk without a license. His BAC was 0.194 percent.

• An inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility was arraigned for aggravated harassment of an employee by inmate. Angela Tuitt, 33, allegedly threw fecal matter at a corrections officer.

Christopher C. Taylor, 35, of West Avenue in Medina was arraigned for two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He allegedly intended to sell cocaine and possessed more than a half ounce of cocaine.

He also was arraigned on one count criminal nuisance in third because people were allegedly engaging in unlawful activity on his premises.

Taylor also has been charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree for allegedly using scales or balances to weigh controlled substances.

He pleaded not guilty in court today and is free on $20,000 bail.

Jacob Harbaugh of the Niagara Falls rejected a plea offer for third-degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny.

Judge Church set Jan. 21 for the start of a trial against Harbaugh. He is one of three defendants who allegedly stole three dirt bikes from a Ridgeway garage on Oct. 16, 2018.

If found guilty, Harbaugh could face 3 ½ to 7 years in prison. As part of a plea deal, his sentence would be capped at 2 ½ to 5 years in prison. Harbaugh rejected the offer today.

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2 are sentenced to state prison, including Medina man in 3-county chase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 November 2019 at 12:01 pm

ALBION – Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church sentenced two people to state prison today.

A Medina man was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Jessy Miller, 32, led police on a three-county high-speed chase on March 4. He admitted in court during a previous court appearance to drinking alcohol before driving that day. His blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent, about twice the legal limit.

Miller 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 agreed to pay $2,797 in restitution for the damage to the porch.

He also has to pay $1,320 in court and DMV fines and surcharges.

He also had pleaded guilty in Genesee County Court to first-degree reckless endangerment. Police followed him to Genesee County on March 4, 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.

The sentence for his Genesee County charge is expected to be served concurrently with his time from Orleans.

Miller apologized in court today for his actions.

“I know it could have been a lot worse that it was,” he told Judge Sanford Church. “I’m getting too old to play crazy games like this.”

Miller said he has a better support system in his life now and is committed to getting treatment for his addiction.

District Attorney Joe Cardone asked the judge for a state prison sentence due to Miller’s “very concerning” conduct.

Judge Church agreed that Miller put the community in danger and gave him the maximum sentence as part of a plea agreement.

In another case today, a Rochester man was sentenced to 2 years in state prison for attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Jonathan Velasquez, 25, admitted in court on June 20 to selling fentanyl and heroin to an informant with the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

He also faced federal drug charges and has been sentenced to 37 months in prison by a federal judge. The time for the Orleans case will be served concurrently with the federal charges.

Velasquez is a first-time felony offender. He also will be on post-release supervision for 2 years.

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Albion man pleads guilty to unlawful surveillance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2019 at 4:15 pm

ALBION – An Albion man facing up to 20 years in prison on federal child pornography charges pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court this morning to unlawful surveillance in the second degree.

Andrew Campbell, 33, faces 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for the crime when he is sentenced on Jan. 16. That time will be served concurrently with the federal charge, where there will likely be a much longer sentence.

Campbell on Oct. 8 pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of child pornography. In that case, law enforcement did a forensic analysis of a desktop, laptop, and hard drive of Campbell’s that revealed more than 65 image files and more than 20 videos containing child pornography. Some of the images depicted the sexual abuse or exploitation of an infant or toddler, and other depictions of violence.

In the local case in County Court, Campbell admitted today to using an iPhone to record two girls without their consent.

He could also face a fine of up to $5,000 and $375 in court surcharges and fees.

• In another case, Dennis S. Biaselli, 45, of Albion was arraigned on felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

He was charged after a car accident on Sept. 17, when he struck a utility pole on Zig Zag Road in Albion. He allegedly fled the scene but then returned to get his car.

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

He has been in jail since Sept. 19 with bail at $5,000. After Public Defender Joanne Best requested a reduction in bail, County Court Judge Sanford Church agreed to lower it to $3,000 cash or bond.

• A Medina man appeared in court for a bail hearing. Michael Harrison faces charges of grand larceny in the fourth degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. Harrison alleged stole someone’s wallet.

Judge Church agreed to release Harrison on his own recognizance.

• A former inmate in the Albion Correctional facility was arraigned on promoting prison contraband in the second degree. Stacey Haley of Massena in St. Lawrence County allegedly introduced Suboxone into the prison in August 2018. She has since been released from the women’s prison in Albion.

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3 are sentenced by county judge to incarceration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2019 at 12:37 pm

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

Joseph Newton, 33, of Medina will spend 4 years in state prison after he 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 admitted in a previous court appearance 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.

Newton, as part of his sentence, needs to pay $1,260 in restitution, with $1,200 for the stolen motor and another $60 to the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

While he was an inmate, he was planning to attend 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.

Judge Church told Newton the incident at the funeral home “cries out for help and I hope you get the help you need.”

Newton started a drug treatment program while in jail through GCASA. He intends to keep working on his drug addiction issues in prison, said his attorney, Michael O’Keefe.

“My client is looking forward to a clean life away from drugs,” O’Keefe told the judge during sentencing today.

In two other sentencings this morning:

Linda Meise, 37, formerly Oak Orchard Estates in Albion was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years of probation for having precursors for making methamphetamine.

She is a first-time felony offender. She was charged along with her husband, Richard Meise on June 20.

Mr. Meise, 36, pleaded guilty in court today to attempted unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree. He faces 1 ½ years in prison and up 1 to 2 years of post-release supervision when he is sentenced on Jan. 9.

Joshua Cuadrado, 22, of Brockport was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years probation for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.

He was allegedly selling marijuana products in Medina community when he was arrested in February.

Cuadrado said he is working hard to break his addiction to smoking marijuana.

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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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