MALONE A leader of a Mohawk longhouse may soon be out of hot water from allegations that he took over a parcel of land in Bombay three years ago.
A December indictment charging Roger Jock, 51, who goes by the traditional Mohawk name Kaneretiio, with second-degree grand larceny alleging he took over a 144-acre piece of land in Bombay was dismissed by Franklin County Judge Robert G. Main Jr. last month, according to court officials. Although the indictment is dismissed, the grand larceny charge remains pending; Mr. Jock is free on bail.
Court Clerk Bruce Cox said Judge Main signed the order about Aug. 15 and gave the prosecution 30 days to present the case to a new grand jury for a possible reindictment. Mr. Cox said the judge sealed all records pertaining to the case; a reporter was not able to review them.
District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said the indictment was dismissed because the grand jury minutes did not accurately reflect which jurors were present.
The original indictment alleged Mr. Jock took property in Bombay on March 2, 2009, titled to Horst Wuersching of Mount Vernon. The land sits in the so-called Bombay triangle, which is the subject of an ongoing federal land claim lawsuit.
Mr. Jock is a Bear Clan representative for the Mens Council of the People of the Way of the Longhouse. Chaz Kader, volunteer clerk for the Mens Council, said in December that the group took the land as part of a reclamation of its rightful holdings.
The Mens Council was offering to give parcels away free to Mohawk families, but only one person took it up on the offer. Kakarakeron, 25, a member of the Turtle Clan of the Longhouse, has built a small house on the land and has a truck in the front where he sells cigarettes.
In December, Mr. Champagne said this is a clear-cut case of who rightfully owns the property in the eye of the law.
I think its a straightforward issue where theres a faction that believes they own property and theres people that have deeds, pay taxes and have been here for decades, Mr. Champagne said. This was a decision by a grand jury. The grand jury heard facts and evidence and decided there was enough to proceed.
If prosecutors are able to secure a second indictment for the original charge, Mr. Jock could face five to 15 years in prison if he is convicted.
Mr. Champagne said there are ongoing discussions between prosecutors and defense counsel, but would say only that Mr. Jocks attorneys have voiced interest in waiving the 30-day limit to re-present the case. Mr. Jock is represented by Brian Barrett of Lake Placid and Lorraine White of Akwesasne.