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Trial starts for Albion man facing first-degree assault

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2018 at 7:35 pm

ALBION – Today was the start of a trial for a Albion man facing first- and second-degree assault charges.

Wesley Askew

Wesley Askew, 50, has been in the county jail on $250,000 bail after he allegedly seriously injured another Albion man on June 9 during a late-night fight at 175 North Main St., an apartment building north of the Erie Canal.

Sara Sheldon, a judge from Niagara County, is presiding over the trial. Today the jurors were picked.

Askew allegedly got into an altercation at 1:45 a.m. and allegedly punched another man several times, causing serious head injuries. Askew allegedly punched the other man so hard that Askew broke bones in his hand and wrist. He was treated for his injuries at the Erie County Medical Center.

Askew is a level 3 sex offender, the highest possible risk for re-offending. He was released from prison in late 2015 after being convicted in May 2009 for second-degree rape.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

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Lyndonville teen faces drug and gun charges

Posted 27 April 2018 at 11:54 am

Press Release, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. – Western District of New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Nolan Donald, 19, of Lyndonville, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and being an unlawful user in possession of a firearm. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth T. Molisani, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between February 17, 2018, and April 18, 2018, the defendant posted videos and photos to the social media application “Snapchat” in which he appeared to be in possession of a pistol and large quantities of marijuana, and using what appeared to be marijuana and prescription medicine.

On April 18, Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed a federal search warrant at Donald’s North Lyndonville Road residence. Agents recovered a pistol with an obliterated serial number, which was loaded with eight rounds of ammunition, and a 12-gauge shotgun. A small quantity of suspected marijuana, suspected edible marijuana cookies, plastic baggies and ammunition for a shotgun were also recovered.

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and was released on conditions pending a detention hearing on April 27.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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2 plead guilty to drug crimes and will likely be sentenced to prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2018 at 6:34 pm

ALBION – Two people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court today to drug crimes and will likely be sentenced to state prison.

Jonathan Agosto, 31, of Rochester pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He could be sentenced up to 8 years in prison on July 9.

Agosto was charged in February with 10 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, which are Class B felonies. He is suspected to providing heroin/fentanyl that caused several overdoses in early 2018.

Another Rochester resident, Lamar Nelson, 29, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. He faces up to 2 ½ years in prison when he is sentenced on June 25.

He admitted he had cocaine with the intent to sell on May 1, 2017.

A Holley man who has been in prison for 4 years will be released on June 2 from Collins Correctional Facility. Damien Jost, 23, pleaded guilty in 2014 to disseminating indecent material to a minor. Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church assessed Jost as a Level 2 sex offender.

Judge Sara Sheldon presided over other cases this afternoon. She set June 18 as the beginning of a trial for Gerardo Quiros, 31, of Medina, who allegedly held a woman against her will for several weeks, while physically and sexually assaulting her.

Susan Howard, the assistant district attorney, told the judge the trial would likely last about two weeks.

Quiros is facing 24 counts, including seven counts of first-degree rape, 10 counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count of third-degree assault, one count of both criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third and fifth degrees, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Quiros remains in the county jail after his bail was revoked in January by Judge Sheldon. The judge said she wouldn’t consider releasing him from jail.

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3 plead guilty in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2018 at 12:21 pm

ALBION – Three people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court last week. Two could spend time in jail when they are sentenced. Another defendant could have the felony charge dismissed if she completes a diversion program.

Amanda C. Laraby, 37, of Middleport was accepted into a judicial diversion program. Laraby admitted in court that she has been fighting an opiate addiction. She pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after she allegedly sold prescription opiate drugs. If she completes the diversion program, which includes drug treatment, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and she wouldn’t face any time in jail.

Miranda Rose, formerly of Orleans County, admitted to collecting $3,577 in welfare benefits when she was living out of the county in Baltimore.

She pleaded guilty to fifth-degree welfare fraud last Thursday before County Court Judge Sanford Church. She agreed to pay $3,577 in restitution and will be sentenced on May 3. She could face up to a year in jail.

Fred Lockwood, 55, of Waterport pleaded guilty to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated in the town of Yates.

He was allegedly driving without a license and while intoxicated. He could face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on June 28.

In other cases:

Laura L. Spear, 50, of Medina was sentenced to three years probation plus restitution. She pleaded guilty to petit larceny after she admitted to taking $20,918 from her mother by using her credit card. Spear, who has no prior criminal record, agreed to pay restitution over the next three years.

Brian Forman was arraigned on grand larceny in the third and fourth degrees. He allegedly had a relationship with a woman from California and extorted nearly $9,000 from her in wired funds and gift cards, when he threatened to expose the relationship, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Forman was extradited from Texas and is in the county jail on $25,000 bail.

Bianca Carbone, an inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility, was arraigned on promoting prison contraband in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree for allegedly having drugs in the prison. Her bail was set at $20,000 in case she is released from the women’s prison.

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Woman charged with murder of Lyndonville mother deemed competent to stand trial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2018 at 3:52 pm

ROCHESTER – A woman accused of fatally shooting a Lyndonville woman has been deemed fit to stand trial.

Holly Colino, 32, last Oct. 31 was declared incompetent to stand trial. But today in State Supreme Court, Judge Charles Schiano determined that Colino has made progress and can now assist in her own defense, Rochester media stations are reporting.

Colino is accused of shooting Megan Dix on Aug. 25 while the 33-year-old-wife and mother was taking her lunch break at a parking lot on South Avenue in Brockport. Dix was seeking some peace and quiet on her lunch break at Lowe’s.

Colino, 32, grew up in East Rochester. She had been living in Arizona. Brockport Police Chief Daniel Varrenti said after the arrest the murder was a random act of violence. Dix did nothing wrong to provoke the attack, the police chief said.

Colino is to appear back in court in June when the judge may set a date for a trial.

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Medina man sentenced to 4 years in prison for drug crime

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2018 at 10:04 am

ALBION – A Medina resident was sentenced to four years in state prison on Monday. Russell E. Sargent, 52, admitted in a previous court appearance to having cocaine with the intention of selling it on May 18.

He was sentenced for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He could have faced up to 5 ½ years in prison, but as part of a plea deal the sentence was capped at 4 years.

“He acknowledges what he did is foolish,” Public Defender Joanne Best told Sara Sheldon, interim County Court judge. “This all dates back to the seriousness of the the drug use he has engaged in the last few years.”

Sargent apologized to the court, his friends and family.

“You’re getting too old for this,” Sheldon told Sargent. “What a crappy way to live your life.”

Her sentence included the option for Sargent to go to the Willard drug treatment program through the state correctional system.

He also has to pay $230 restitution to the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

In other cases:

• Some of the charges have been dismissed for a Ridgeway man who allegedly held a woman against her will for several weeks, while physically and sexually assaulting her.

The woman couldn’t provide specific dates for all of the alleged crimes. Gerardo Quiros, 31, was facing 36 counts but some of those were dismissed because the District Attorney’s Office couldn’t provide the exact dates. However, the victim was able to provide specifics for many of the alleged crimes. Quiros is now facing 24 counts, including seven counts of first-degree rape, 10 counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count of third-degree assault, one count of both criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third and fifth degrees, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Quiros remains in the county jail after his bail was revoked in January by Judge Sheldon. The judge said she wouldn’t consider releasing him from jail.

He is scheduled to go to trial on June 18.

• A Holley woman was sentenced to four months of weekends in jail plus five years of probation after getting her third charge for driving while intoxicated in the past 10 years.

Katherine Christ, 29, was charged on June 20 with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

The judge took her driver’s license. Christ has to pay a $520 court surcharge and will have to have an interlock ignition device that measures her BAC when she resumes driving.

Corey Goebel, 27, of Sparling Drive in Rochester pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail and five years probation when he is sentenced on June 25.

He admitted he entered a garage on June 21, 2017, intending to a commit a crime in Clarendon on Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road.

Goebel faces a similar charge in Monroe County. Judge Sheldon said she would have given Goebel more time in jail but Monroe County already agreed to a plea deal of six months in jail, and five years of probation.

“I’m not happy with this, but Monroe County went first,” she said.

• Judge Sheldon, a Niagara County judge, is reducing some of the cases she has in Orleans County. She has been filling in since James Punch retired last July 29. Sanford Church was elected in November and is assuming more of the workload. Charles Zambito, a judge from Genesee County, also is handling some of the court cases.

Sheldon told some of the people in a judicial diversion program that Monday was her last time seeing them. Those cases will be shifted to Zambito, who has court on Thursday mornings.

One of the local residents in the diversion program thanked Sheldon for giving him a second chance. If he completes drug treatment and doesn’t commit any additional crimes, his felony drug charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

“You’re welcome,” Judge Sheldon told the man. “I want to see you strong and sober.”

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Albion man ‘vehemently denies’ raping child

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 10:24 am

Judge sets bail at $25K for Richard Hering Jr.

ALBION – An Albion man facing charges of rape and incest against a child and sexual abuse against three children denied the charges in Orleans County Court on Monday, when the judge set bail at $25,000.

Richard Hering Jr., 45, said he is innocent and offered to take a polygraph test.

“He vehemently denies having done this,” said Mark Lewis, Hering’s attorney. “He should be presumed innocent.”

Hering and his girlfriend Renee Koch, 54, were charged on Feb. 27 with forcible touching, sex abuse and act in manner injurious to a child less than 17 years of age. There were allegedly three victims.

After those charges, Hering was arrested again on March 9 after additional information was developed, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni said.

The charges include two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child (felony), two counts of first-degree rape (felony) and two counts of incest in the first degree (felony).

The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2010 in the Village of Albion. District Attorney Joe Cardone said the victim of the alleged crime is very credible.

Cardone asked Sara Sheldon, interim County Court judge, to set bail for Hering at $50,000 during a bail hearing Monday in County Court.

“These are extremely serious charges,” Cardone said. “We are concerned he is a flight risk.”

Lewis said the charges against Hering are only accusations. The attorney asked for a lower bail.

Cardone noted that Hering has a previous conviction in 1994 for a misdemeanor of attempted sexual abuse in the 2nd degree in Clarendon.

Sheldon said she was concerned about that charge as well as allegations that there are three victims in the latest case.

She set bail at $25,000 cash and $50,000 bond.

In other cases in County Court on Monday:

• The judge agreed to accept a Rochester woman into a judicial diversion program where her felony charge will be dismissed if she can avoid drugs and complete treatment in the next two years.

Adrienne Williams, 52, has been to state prison three times. She has battled addictions for many years. The diversion program, which requires treatment, gives her a chance for breaking the cycle, said her attorney, Dominic Saraceno.

Williams thanked Judge Sheldon for the opportunity. Williams pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband in the first degree. She admitted to bringing 49 pills to the Albion Correctional Facility.

If she fails in the diversion program, she could face up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison.

Cardone opposed the diversion program for Williams, saying she has “led a life of criminal behavior” with 35 convictions.

If Williams can complete the program, the felony charges will be dismissed and she will be sentenced to three years of probation to be served in Monroe County.

“It’s going to be hard,” Sheldon told Williams. “You need to make your appointments and you’re going to be tested constantly. It’s going to be hard work, and you need to do the heavy lifting.”

• A trial will start April 30 for Lamar L. Nelson, 29, of Rochester, who is accused of selling cocaine in Albion on May 1. He faces multiple charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession in the fourth degree as well as criminally using drug paraphernalia. Nelson has declined any plea offers.

• A trial for another Rochester man facing drug charges is scheduled to begin on May 7. Victor T. Simmons, 47, is accusing of selling heroin and cocaine in Albion.

Simmons declined a plea deal with a maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in state prison if he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

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Man who stole from Walmart sentenced to state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 March 2018 at 5:19 pm

ALBION – A Rochester man who admitted in court to stealing $1,903 worth of electronics from the Walmart in Albion was sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison.

Adrian Taylor, 40, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny. He has prior convictions for larceny, burglary and drug crimes.

Sara Sheldon, the interim County Court judge, said Taylor is “clearly a career criminal.”

She also ordered that he pay Walmart $1,903 in restitution. Taylor allegedly put electronic items in a tote and then took them from the store.

The judge declined his request to be sent to the Willard drug treatment program through the state prison system. She told him there are other treatment programs in prison.

In other cases in County Court on Monday:

• An Albion man was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for violating his probation.

Kolin McKain, 21, of Albion will go to a “shock camp” that is run like a boot camp. Sheldon told him he will be up early in the morning for exercise, then drug treatment. He will also learn about respecting authority and human dignity, she said.

McKain already has been on probation four times and has twice been convicted of driving while intoxicated. He violated probation by repeatedly using drugs and also being found with alcohol, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

“My client clearly has a substance abuse problem that is controlling his life,” McKain’s attorney Nathan Pace told the judge.

McKain apologized to his family and the court for his actions.

Sheldon told him she hopes the shock camp can lead to long-lasting change in his life.

“You’re 21 years old and you’re becoming a frequent flyer,” she said. “That’s unacceptable.”

• A man from Cazenovia was sentenced to five years of probation and four weekends in jail after drunk driving on July 14 in Carlton.

Michael E. McKee, 30, of Cazenovia had a 0.29 percent Blood Alcohol Content, more than three times the legal limit.

He could have faced up to six months in jail as part of a plea agreement. Judge Sheldon said she was impressed by McKee for taking responsibility for the crime and getting treatment. His attorney asked that McKee only serve probation given the progress he has made since his arrest.

Sheldon decided to give him four weekends in jail to be served in Madison County, where he lives.

“I think you need a little taste (of jail) to show that this is where you never want to be,” the judge said.

McKee will also report to probation in Madison County. His license has also been taken away until he gets the court’s permission to have it back. He also must pay a $520 court surcharge and $50 DNA fee.

• An Albion man facing charges of first- and second-degree assault will go to trial beginning May 7. Wesley Askew has been in the county jail after he allegedly seriously injured another Albion man on June 9.

Askew allegedly got into an altercation at 1:45 a.m. on June 9 at 175 North Main St., an apartment building. Askew allegedly assaulted another resident, who sustained serious head injuries.

Askew is a level 3 sex offender, the highest possible risk for re-offending. He was released from prison in late 2015 after being convicted in May 2009 for second-degree rape.

Cardone, the district attorney, said the trial would take two weeks, “at least.”

• A Hamlin resident pleaded guilty to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree

Chad Oehlbeck, 30, could face up to six months in jail and five years on probation when he is sentenced in June 11.

He admitted to the judge he was driving without a license and was impaired on June 3. He was also asked if he had a shotgun and was intending to use it unlawfully against another person.

After a pause, Oehlbeck responded, “Yes, your honor.”

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Albion man on parole admits to having cocaine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2018 at 8:37 am

ALBION – An Albion man who got out of prison about a year ago admitted to having cocaine and could face up to 2 more years in prison when he is sentenced on May 4.

Kenneth L. Thompson, 52, of North Main Street admitted in County Court on Monday that he had 0.12 ounces of cocaine in his room when it was searched by a parole officer on Oct. 5.

He was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, which carries a maximum of 1 ½ to 8 years in prison due to his previous offenses. (Thompson has five prior felonies, several misdemeanor crimes, and previous probation and parole revocations.)

District Attorney Joe Cardone offered a 2-year maximum for Thompson, and that was accepted by Thompson and Sara Sheldon, the interim County Court judge. She also insisted on three years of post-release supervision.

Thompson is currently in jail on $10,000 bail.

In other cases in court on Monday:

• Jason Schmeer, 37, of Brockport pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny for taking a credit card. He agreed to pay $485 in restitution.

He faces a split sentenced of up to six months in jail and five years of probation when he is sentenced on June 11.

• The judge is considering the next step for a Rochester woman who was in a diversion program and was in a drug treatment program near Albany. However, Georgeta M. Coleman, 19, only stayed briefly for orientation and left the site, stealing one of the counselor’s cars and driving back to the Rochester area. Coleman’s whereabouts were unknown for about two weeks.

Her attorney, Dominic Saraceno, said Coleman had a “mental health breakdown” at the treatment facility.

Coleman was charged on June 14 by the Albion Police Department after she allegedly stole a motor vehicle in Albion. She has been arraigned for fourth-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

The judge accepted her in a diversion program, and would have reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor if Coleman completed the program.

Coleman is currently in jail on $10,000 bail.

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Albion man sentenced to 2 years in prison for selling cocaine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2018 at 7:58 am

ALBION – An Albion man was sentenced to 2 years in state prison on Monday after he admitted to selling cocaine.

Patricio A. Borquez, 43, of Desmore Road in Albion was sent to state prison for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He admitted in a previous court appearance he had cocaine with the intent to sell it.

Borquez has downplayed his involvement in the alleged drug sales, saying he only was involved in one sale. But District Attorney Joe Cardone said Borquez personally completed several drug transactions.

Borquez faced a maximum of 3 years in state prison. He developed a drug addiction after fracturing his skull in a construction accident and using pain medication, his attorney Mark Lewis said.

Borquez, who has no prior felonies, became addicted to the pain pills and then started using heroin. He sold drugs to support his drug habit, Lewis said.

Sara Sheldon, the interim County Court judge, urged Borquez to complete drug treatment programs while in prison.

“I know I committed a huge mistake,” Borquez said during sentencing.

He insisted he wasn’t involved in multiple sales. Borquez said he became a Christian in jail “and that is what has turned my life around.”

In another sentencing:

Matthew Engert, 26, of Holley was sent back to the county jail for a nine-month sentencne after he violated his probation.

Engert just got out of jail in January. He was on probation for third-degree assault for punching another inmate in the head at the Orleans County Jail on Feb. 14, 2017.

District Attorney Joe Cardone went over Engert’s infractions on probation, including not reporting to probation for three appointments last month, leaving the state without permission, using cocaine and marijuana, being charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to get evaluations for substance abuse, mental health and anger management.

Engert declined to have a pre-sentencing report be done, which would have pushed back his sentencing until April 23. He asked to be sentenced on Monday. He said he does better with the structure of the jail.

Judge Sheldon said many people prefer jail over the rules of probation.

“Mr. Engert, you got to straighten out your life,” she said.

• An Albion man who pleaded guilty to violating terms of his probation had his sentencing postponed by a week because the judge wants to see if he would be eligible for a shock camp.

Kolin McKain, 21, of Albion already has been on probation four times and has twice been convicted of driving while intoxicated. McKain violated probation by repeatedly using drugs and also being found with alcohol.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said McKain has a “sizable drug problem.” McKain faces up to a year in the county jail.

Judge Sheldon said McKain is young and would benefit from shock camp, which she said is run like a boot camp. She first wants to see if that would be an option for McKain.

“I think he needs an attitude adjustment and local time won’t do it,” she said.

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