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4 sentenced in County Court today all receive some incarceration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2019 at 12:04 pm

ALBION – Four people were sentenced in Orleans County Court today and all received some incarceration.

Luis Ramos-Perez, 30, received the longest sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison. He was charged with DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after being stopped on Dec. 14 in Albion. He registered a BAC of 0.15 percent, about double the legal limit. He has two prior charged for driving under the influence or intoxicated.

He was recently released from prison when he was arrested again for another DWI.

Ramos-Perez apologized in court. He spoke through an interpreter.

“I just want to say I feel bad for I did,” he said. “I do accept that I have problems with alcohol.”

Ramos-Perez has family in the area, including children.

County Court Judge Sanford Church said Ramos-Perez has proven to be a danger to other people on the road. The judge also revoked the driver’s license for Ramos-Perez for a year.

Michael J. Miller II, 44, of Medina was sentenced to six months in the county jail and five years of probation.

He was charged on Sept. 22 on Townline Road in Yates and registered a .24 BAC, which is three times the legal limit. This is his third DWI offense and all have been with a BAC over .20 percent, the judge said.

“I apologize for the decisions I made that night,” Miller said.

His attorney, Neil Gunther, asked for only probation or weekends in jail. But Judge Church said Miller has shown he is a danger to the community by driving when he is highly impaired.

• A Batavia man was sentenced to two months of weekends in jail plus five years of probation.

Dominic Bennett, 27, previously pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. He was in a one-car accident on Oct. 27 on Route 31 in Albion, and was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He has recovered from his injuries.

Spencer Freeman, 20, of Albion also was sentenced to two months of weekends in jail and five years of probation.

He previously pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the seventh degree.

He admitted to having about $1,500 worth of stolen items on Nov. 13, including a Play Station, an Alexa, X-Box and flat-screen television. Freeman also said he had Xanax bars, which are a controlled substance.

The weekends in jail will allow him to continue his full-time job.

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3 plead guilty to drug crimes in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2019 at 3:16 pm

ALBION – Three people pleaded guilty to drug crimes in Orleans County today during County Court, while another man admitted to driving while intoxicated and without a license.

Dexter Turner, a former Albion and Medina resident, pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. He faces a maximum of 3 ½ years in prison and post-release supervision when he is sentenced on Aug. 1.

Turner was living in Brockport when he was charged on March 25 on eight counts of drug sale and possession charges for allegedly selling crack cocaine in Albion and Medina.

Turner admitted in court today to having cocaine on Dec. 4 and trying to sell it in Orleans County. He is a second felony offender.

He could also face a fine of up to $15,000.

He is in the Orleans County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

• A Rochester man admitted he was trying to sell fentanyl in Orleans County. Dante L. Thomas, 30, was charged in December with 14 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

He pleaded guilty today to attempted criminal sale of controlled substance in the third degree and faces a maximum of 3 years in state prison and post-release supervision when he is sentenced on Aug. 1.

This is Thomas’s first criminal conviction. The judge agreed to reduce his bail by half to$25,000 cash and $50,000 bond.

Dakota Hunt, 24, of Medina pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She admitted she had cocaine on Oct. 31 with the intent to sell it.

This is her first conviction. As part of a plea deal today, her sentence will be capped at six months in jail and probation for up to five years. She will be sentenced on Aug. 1. She remains free after posting $5,000 bail.

• In another case, a Kendall man pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Gilberto Gonzales, 49, was stopped in Albion on April 14. He declined to have his attorney, Public Defender Joanne Best, argue motions and look at body cam evidence from the arresting officer.

“Your honor obviously I was guilty because I was intoxicated and I was driving without a license,” Gonzales told Judge Sanford Church today.

As part of the plea, he faces a maximum of 1 to 2 years in state prison. That is a break from what could have been a 4-year maximum. Gonzalez was convicted of driving under the influence in Oklahoma on Dec. 11, 2018, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

Gonzalez will be sentenced on Aug. 1. He is in the county jail on $5,000 bail.

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2 at Albion Correctional Facility get more time for contraband, harassment

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2019 at 2:40 pm

ALBION – Two people who admitted to crimes while they were inmates at Albion Correctional Facility will be spending more time in prison after they were sentenced today in Orleans County Court.

Robin Miller, an inmate at the women’s prison, was sentenced to an additional 1 ½ to 3 years in prison for aggravated harassment of an employee.

She admitted to throwing urine at a corrections officer. She was scheduled to be released next year.

Najah Fields, a former inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility, was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years for promoting prison contraband. She allegedly had a Syracuse woman bring Suboxone and pills to the prison.

Fields was released from Albion Correctional last Dec. 28. Her attorney, David Wade, said Fields has struggled with drug addiction “her entire life.”

Fields and the Syracuse woman both showed “poor judgement,” trying to bring the Suboxone and pills into the facility, Wade said.

Sanford Church, the County Court judge, said shock incarceration may be an option for Fields. That will be up to the state corrections system.

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Man arraigned in County Court for first-degree robbery in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 May 2019 at 11:47 am

ALBION – A Rochester man who used to live in Medina was arraigned in Orleans County Court today for first-degree robbery and grand larceny in the fourth degree, which are felonies.

Jason Wills, 33, also faces misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing in the second degree.

He was picked up on a warrant on May 1 in Albion by local law enforcement. Wills had been wanted since failing to show up at a court appearance on Nov. 20, 2017, when he was indicted for robbery in the first degree.

Wills was arrested by the Medina Police Department on June 4, 2017 for an alleged knifepoint robbery where cash was stolen.

District Attorney Joe Cardone requested bail of at least $100,000 after Wills failed to appear in November 2017. Judge Charles Zambito agreed and set bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Cardone also offered a plea deal for Wills where he would plead guilty to attempted robbery in the first degree and face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Wills can consider that offer in the next month before he appears in County Court again for a conference with his attorney, Public Defender Joanne Best.

In other cases in County Court today:

• A former inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison for assaulting a corrections officer in 2017.

Raheem Sumler pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted assault.

• An Albion woman was sentenced to six months in the county jail and five years of probation for a felony drug charge.

Virginia Rivera, 38, had nearly completed a judicial diversion program until a recent drug relapse. If she had been successful, she would have instead been sentenced to a misdemeanor and avoided jail.

“I just want to apologize,” she told the judge. “I made a huge mistake. I really regret it.”

Judge Zambito declined to send Rivera to state prison. He wanted the local supervision through probation.

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Ricks arraigned for murder of boy who died in 2017 – 15 years after being severely injured

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2019 at 12:27 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Ricks walks out of the Orleans County courtroom today after he was arraigned for second-degree murder in the death of DeVante Boston. Ricks has been incarcerated for the past 17 years and is due to be released July 19.

ALBION – A former Medina resident was arraigned in Orleans County Court today for second-degree murder, for causing the severe injuries that led to the death of DeVante Boston.

David Ricks, currently an inmate at the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica, appeared in court. He is represented by Public Defender Joanne Best and entered a not guilty plea.

Ricks has been incarcerated for about 17 years after being convicted of first-degree assault in 2003. He is due to have a conditional release from prison on July 19.

Matthew Murphy, a Niagara County Court judge, is handling the case and set bail this morning at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone pushed for the murder charge after 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 severely injured the boy in May 2002. Ricks was the boyfriend of DeVante’s mother. Ricks slammed DeVante’s head into the floor and caused him serious injuries after Ricks argued with DeVante’s mother. DeVante did not get immediate medical treatment. He had brain surgery but was left in a vegetative state.

DeVante 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.

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

“We’re in unchartered area,” he said about bringing the charge 17 years later.

Cardone said the charge is justified because Ricks’ actions clearly caused DeVante’s death and left the boy in pain the rest of his life.

DeVante Boston’s family held out this photo of DeVante when he was about 9. His great aunt Phyllis Winters made sure Ricks saw the photograph when he appeared in court today. DeVante was severely injured in 2002.

“To me this case is worse than murder,” Cardone said. “He was doomed to a life in a wheelchair and a permanent vegetative state. He suffered every day.”

If Ricks pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial, he could get 25 years to life in prison. He has already served 17 years, counting his time in the county jail before going to state prison. A murder conviction could add 8 years to life to his prison sentence.

About a dozen of DeVante’s family members attended the arraignment for Ricks. They want to see him convicted of murder.

Phyllis Winters, DeVante’s great aunt, brought a photograph of DeVante when he was about 9. She showed the photo to Ricks as he walked in handcuffs to appear before the judge.

“We want DeVante’s voice to be heard,” Winters said after the arraignment. “We feel he lived all of those years to bring out an awareness of child abuse. If we don’t stand and speak up for him and all the other children, no one will.”

Mindy Cogovan, DeVante’s aunt, said he was always in pain and in “seizure mode.” He needed a feeding tube to eat. He had trouble seeing and babbled to talk.

However, he responded when people visited and showed contentment with his family, she said.

“Ricks had more freedom that DeVante ever had,” she said.

Ricks wasn’t confined to a wheelchair, wasn’t disabled and wasn’t in pain, Cogovan said.

Joanne Best, the public defender, asked for no bail for Ricks so he can help with the defense in his case and also begin to live his life once he is on parole.

That irked Winters, the thought of Ricks being out of prison while facing a murder charge.

“I have no sympathy for him – none,” she said.

Ricks is due back in court on June 10. Motions in the case are due to be filed on July 9 and then argued in court on July 29. Judge Murphy set Oct. 21 as a tentative start date for a trial in the case.

DeVante’s aunt, Karen Boston of Medina, is urging the community to turn on blue lights in honor of DeVante on June 13, which would have been his 22nd birthday.

“It’s not just for DeVante, who fought for 17 years,” Boston said. “It’s for all the abused children.”

David Ricks walks from the courthouse to a vehicle to be transported back to the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica.

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Trial starts Aug. 12 for Medina man accused of criminally negligent homicide

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2019 at 12:29 pm

ALBION – The trial will start Aug. 12 for a Medina man who has been charged with criminally negligent homicide after a fatal accident on July 24, 2018 at the intersection of Fancher Road and Route 31A in Clarendon.

Kevin Lupiani, 40, allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign that day at 10:30 p.m. He was driving a 1994 Ford flatbed truck when he allegedly caused the accident that resulted in the death of Matthew Gardner, 25, of Hamlin.

Lupiani has pleaded not guilty to the charge, an E felony which carries a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church set the start of the jury trial for Aug. 12.

In other cases in County Court last Thursday:

Coley Doward Jr., 35, of Medina was arraigned on charged of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree and two counts of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

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

The judge set bail at $500.

• Gilberto Gonzales, 49, of Kendall was arraigned on AUO in the first degree and two counts of felony DWI. He was stopped in Albion on April 14.

He is in the county jail on $5,000 bail.

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2 are sentenced to County Jail, others plead guilty in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2019 at 12:05 pm

ALBION – Two people were sentenced to a year in the Orleans Cunty Jail today by County Court Judge Sanford Church.

Jason Muck, 41, of Medina was sentenced to jail after he pleaded guilty to violating his probation. He could have faced up to 1 to 3 years in state prison.

Muck admitted to using drugs and not attending a treatment program through GCASA while he was on probation for driving while intoxicated.

• William Shelhorse Jr., 53, of Albion also was sentenced to a year in jail for DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree.

Shelhorse was charged on Nov. 7 after being stopped on East Avenue in Albion. He registered a BAC of 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit. He also was driving without a license.

Shelhorse asked for weekend sin jail so he could keep working full-time and could pay off his court fines.

Judge Church declined the weekend option, saying Shelhorse has continued to drink alcohol and use marijuana.

Two other people pleaded guilty and could face incarceration when they are sentenced.

• William Q. Nowak, 41, of Michigan pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He admitted in court to having concentrated cannabis in the form of edible chocolate and edible candies.

He was stopped in Orleans County on Nov. 20. Nowak said he planned to sell the products in the county.

He faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on July 25. He opted to accept a year in jail over probation.

• Christopher Aldrich, 49, of Albion pleaded guilty to felony DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was charged on Jan. 25, when he said he drank about a dozen beers before driving. He registered a BAC of 0.21 percent.

He could face up to three years in state prison when he is sentenced on July 11.

In February 2017, Aldrich was sentenced to a year in the county jail for getting his second DWI since 2012.

A Bronx man who was to be sentenced had his case adjourned for three weeks. Edwin King, 59, of the Bronx has pleaded guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband, a class D felony. He admitted to sending suboxone to an inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility, a women’s prison.

King, as a first-time felony offender, faces up to 1 to 3 years in prison. He is getting treatment for colon and prostrate cancer, with chemotherapy every three weeks on New York City.

Judge Church wants to see a medical report for King’s treatment before making a decision on the sentence.

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2 sentenced to state prison for crimes in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2019 at 10:24 am

ALBION –Two people were sentenced to state prison during Orleans County Court last Thursday.

Andrew Walch, 33, of Holley was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for felony driving while intoxicated. He was charged on Sept. 21, 2018 when he was allegedly driving after using alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. He registered a Blood Alcohol Content of .10 percent.

Angela Fields of Syracuse was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison for promoting prison contraband in the first degree for allegedly bringing Buprenorphine and other pills to the Albion Correctional Facility on Sept. 1. She is a second felony offender.

A Niagara Falls woman pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in the third degree. Alberta Ellis and two co-defendants allegedly broke into two farm labor camps in Carlton and Yates on Oct. 11 and stole money, sneakers, a television and household items from farmworkers. Ellis will be sentenced on July 18.

Regina Russell of Niagara Falls is a codefendant in the case. She was arraigned on May 2 for two counts of burglary in the second degree and 10 counts of petit larceny. The other codefendant is a juvenile and that case is being handled in Family Court.

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2 sentenced to incarceration by County Court judge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 May 2019 at 10:46 am

ALBION – Two people were sentenced to incarceration in Orleans County Court on Thursday.

Charles Knapp, 50, of Medina was sentenced to 1 ½ years in state prison. He had been in a diversion program and would have avoided prison if he stayed sober. But Knapp wasn’t able to comply with the terms of the program.

He had been in diversion since September 2017. He was arrested on March 1, 2017 after an investigation into the sale and distribution of prescription pills (Aprazolam).

He was sentenced on Thursday to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He could have faced up to 2 ½ years in prison for the charge.

In other cases in County Court:

• Jimmie Priestley of Holley was sentenced to 9 months in the county jail for probation violations, including drug use, missing probation appointments and withdrawing from a drug treatment program. Priestley was on probation for falsifying business records.

• Devon Cappucci, 25, a former inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment of an employee by an inmate for allegedly spitting blood at a corrections officer in September.

Cappucci was released from prison. He faces up to 1 ½ to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 27.

• Regina Russell, 46, of Niagara Falls was arraigned for two counts of burglary in the second degree and 10 counts of petit larceny.

She and two co-defendants allegedly broke into two farm labor camps in Carlton and Yates on Oct. 11 and stole money, sneakers, a television and household items from farmworkers.

Judge Sanford Church set bail at $5,000.

One of the codefendants is a juvenile and that case is being handled in Family Court. Another codefendant, Alberta Ellis, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree burglary.

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Former Medina man, in prison for almost 20 years, indicted for murder

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 May 2019 at 10:01 am

ALBION – A former Medina man, who has been in state prison since April 2003, has been indicted for murder after the person he assaulted died on Oct. 27, 2017.

Devante Boston

Devante Boston was 4 when David Ricks severely injured the boy in May 2002. Ricks was the boyfriend of Devante’s mother. Ricks slammed Devante’s head into the floor and caused him serious injuries.

Devante did not get immediate medical treatment. He had brain surgery but was left in a vegetative state. Devante 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. He died at age 20 on October 27, 2017.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone is pursuing the charge of second-degree murder in Devante’s death. A report from the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office said Devante’s death is a direct cause of his injuries from 2002.

Ricks is to be arraigned on the murder charge in Orleans County Court on May 23. He was indicted by the grand jury on the charge on Thursday.

Ricks is currently an inmate in the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica. His earliest possible release is in July.

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