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Massena man awaits evaluation to determine sentence

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CANTON — Chauncey J. Pray,23, of 76 Demot St., Hammond, was sentenced to a maximum of 4 years in state prison Monday morning in St. Lawrence County Court for a third-degree robbery conviction after he admitting he had robbed Ogdensburg taxi driver Keri J. Lasiege.

In a letter addressed to the court, Ms. Lasiege recalled the Feb. 4 night when Pray grabbed her while the cab was in motion and forced the vehicle into park near Knox and Clark streets. She freed herself from Pray’s grasp after he removed only a cellphone and the vehicle’s keys.

Escaping with the money bag from the night’s fares, she screamed and knocked on doors looking for help.

Pray had already been denied entry into the Judicial Diversion Program twice, with the last time in July, as the team that reviews applicants decided entering him into the program would create a safety issue for the community and recommended incarceration.

In addition to jail time, Mr. Pray was ordered to pay $77 in restitution and $50 court fees.

In other court action Thursday:

A Massena man’s fate was left in the hands of a chemical dependency evaluation after he failed to successfully complete the terms of his interim probation.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards has again adjourned the sentencing of Timothy A. Wilson, 42, of 50 George St., after his attorney, St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button, said Wilson had suffered from relapses and was someone in need of treatment.

On Aug 30, Mr. Wilson appeared before Judge Richards after being arrested on a warrant for multiple failures to comply with probation conditions, including testing positive for cocaine and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol - the chemical in marijuana and attending an event at the Massena Rod and Gun Club, where there is a bar that serves alcohol. As a part of the terms of his probation sentence, he was not to enter establishments that serve alcohol. Mr. Button told Judge Richards that Wilson continued to refrain from consuming alcohol.

“Mr. Wilson is someone with a problem and is someone looking to remedy his problem,” Mr. Button said, adding his client had even taken the initiative to set up an appointment to be evaluated by chemical dependency.

”I just want to be given a chance,” Wilson told the judge. “I promise you sir; you will never see my name or face in this court again.”

Judge Richards said that probation recommended Wilson be sentenced to prison, something he said he didn’t disagree with at this stage in the game. He gave Wilson two options for his April 30, 2012 guilty plea to a felony count of driving while intoxicated charge – either adjourn his sentencing and go back to jail to await an evaluation or immediately be sentenced to 1 to 4 years in state prison. Even with Wilson’s choice to adjourn the sentencing in anticipation of an evaluation, jail time is still an option, Judge Richards said.

If the results of the evaluation suggest Wilson enter inpatient treatment, he will be given the option to complete treatment successfully and have the opportunity to earn another year of interim probation with the potential to plead guilty to a reduced charge. But if he is unsuccessful with treatment, he will be sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.

Additionally, if Wilson is advised to participate in outpatient treatment after his evaluation, he will still face a 1 to 4 years in prison.

Mr. Wilson was remanded to St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility awaiting his evaluation and is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 4.

Sidney M. Belile, 49, of 8714 Route 56, Raymondville, the former commander of the Sons of the Legion at American Legion Post 68 who embezzled $1,240 from the American Legion bank account, was released under probation supervision after an adjournment of his sentencing.

Mr. Belile pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Sentencing was adjourned to Oct. 18.

Ronald A. McLean, 51, of 186 County Route 48, Norwood, was released under probation supervision after pleading guilty to attempted assault.

McLean told Judge Richards in court Thursday that on May 18 he had gotten into a fight with his wife and shoved her, causing her to fracture a rib. Sentencing was adjourned to Nov. 6 and an order of protection has been issued in favor of Mrs. McLean.

Shawn R. McIntyre, 28, of 1553 Route 812, Gouverneur, was sentenced to five years of probation after a June 3 guilty plea to aggravated DWI,

McIntyre was arrested Oct. 21 for operating a 2005 Dodge on Route 58 in that town with a blood alcohol content of 0.22 percent. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or more. McIntyre had a previous misdemeanor DWI conviction in 2006, prosecutors said. In addition to probation, McIntyre was ordered to pay $2,070 in court fines, fees and surcharges and had his driver’s license revoked.

Tye Benedict, 26, 43 Churchill Ave., Massena, was released under probation supervision after admitting to violating his original Jan. 27, 2012 five year probation sentence for a felony DWI conviction.

Benedict told Judge Richards that he had not completed any of the 240 hours of the community service that was a part of his probation sentence.

Additionally, Benedict admitted to testing positive for cocaine and alcohol.

Sentencing was adjourned to 9:15 a.m. March 4.

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