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Psych evaluation denied in fracas

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CANTON — A Massena man accused of attacking village police responding to a mental health complaint has been denied a mental health evaluation requested in St. Lawrence County Court.

Judge Jerome J. Richards made the decision Monday when Terry L. Bercume, 48, of 250 Main St., Apt. 6, pleaded not guilty to three counts of menacing a police officer, second-degree assault and resisting arrest.

Mr. Bercume was represented by St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button, who requested that the court direct probation to have a mental health evaluation performed on Mr. Bercume due to a history of mental illness.

According to Mr. Button, police reports stated that Mr. Bercume was “delusional” and “not in his right mind” during the altercation.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Joshua A. HaberkornHalm said there was no indication that mental health problems were preventing Mr. Bercume from understanding why he was in court and what the charges against him were.

Mr. Bercume, who has a history of confrontations with police officers, reportedly pulled a buck knife out of his pocket, opened the blade and threatened Massena Village Police Investigator Jason Olson and patrolmen Chris Flynn and Ian Vanier after they had responded to a call at 11:24 a.m. June 7 to check on a man who was reportedly distressed and delusional.

The defendant also reportedly punched Patrolman Vanier during that confrontation, sending the officer to Massena Memorial Hospital for treatment of concussion-like symptoms.

Investigator Olson was treated for lacerations to both hands and Patrolman Flynn suffered a laceration to this right hand when the policemen wrestled with Mr. Bercume on a small porch as they attempted to take him custody. Court documents indicated officers drew their handguns and a Taser during the confrontation.

Judge Richard denied the request for a mental health evaluation, based on Mr. Bercume’s ability to respond coherently to a series of questions regarding the charges against him and why he was in court.

Mr. Bercume was returned to the St. Lawrence County jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

In other court action this week:

Thomas R. Logan, 58, of 783 Ridge Road, Waddington, was sentenced to 15 to 45 months in state prison on a May 23 guilty plea to a Dec. 8 charge of driving while intoxicated, a class E felony.

Mr. Logan had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent while operating a 2005 Chevrolet in the town of Potsdam on Dec. 8, according to police. A BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered proof of intoxication under state law.

“This was Mr. Logan’s sixth DWI conviction, his third in two years,” Judge Richards said.

St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button, who was representing Mr. Logan, said his client was in failing health and would be a good candidate for a split sentence of six months in county jail and five years of probation.

Mr. Button added that by sentencing his client to the six-five split, he would be under the watchful eye of the courts for at least a year longer.

Judge Richards said Mr. Logan had several opportunities to comply with the conditions of his release, after his plea, but on Aug. 9, he was seen at a Bass Masters fishing tournament at a beer tent after being told not to be at venues that serve alcohol.

He was asked by a state trooper to submit to an alcohol breath test and he refused, the court said.

In addition to the prison sentence, Mr. Logan was ordered to pay $2,070 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Andrew F. White, 25, of 46 Sterling St., Gouverneur, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor, after waving his right to be charged by a grand jury Monday.

He allegedly disregarded a no harassment order for Natalie Besaw, issued June 5 by Gouverneur Town Justice John W. Riordan. Mr. White had an altercation with the woman July 23 over a pack of cigarettes, Judge Richards said.

Judge Richards scheduled sentencing for 9:15 a.m Oct. 21 and remanded Mr. White to St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

Additionally, Mr. White pleaded guilty to violating a five-year probation sentence imposed April 26, 2012, for an attempted-burglary conviction. He was released under probation supervision in that matter.

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