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Ogdensburg man pleaded not guilty to fatal hit-and-run


CANTON — The Ogdensburg man accused in the August hit-and-run death of a 19-year-old Lancaster man pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Wednesday morning in St. Lawrence County Court.

Devin B. Ferguson-Brenno, 26, of 209 Gilbert St., pleaded not guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving an accident resulting in death and tampering with physical evidence, all felony charges; second-degree obstruction of governmental administration and driving while intoxicated, both misdemeanors, and multiple traffic violations.

Mr. Ferguson-Brenno is accused of operating his Honda CRV on County Route 6 in Morristown at 9 p.m. Aug. 4 when the vehicle struck and killed Benjamin M. Schick.

Police on Nov. 26 extradited Mr. Ferguson-Brenno from Arizona, where he was staying with family. He has been held in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

In court on Wednesday, St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button, who represented Mr. Ferguson-Brenno, requested he be released under probation supervision. Mr. Button told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that Mr. Ferguson was not a flight risk and even alerted state police Investigator Christopher M. Nye that he was moving to Arizona to stay with family.

“He told Investigator Nye that he planned to move to Arizona and when he did arrive, he made contact with Investigator Nye and told him that he was there,” Mr. Button said.

Judge Richards returned Mr. Ferguson-Brenno to St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

In other court action this week:

Amy J. Griffin, 25, of 163 Hopson Road, Brasher Falls, was sentenced Monday to 300 days in St. Lawrence County jail for misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Ms. Griffin failed to comply with the terms of her plea bargain, which required her to successfully complete chemical dependency treatment at Credo Community Center, Watertown. Judge Richards said she was unsuccessfully discharged from the program.

In addition to her jail sentence, Ms. Griffin was ordered to pay $250 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Jennifer L. Smithers, 37, of 318 Center Road, Ogdensburg, was placed on one year of interim probation Monday following her Oct. 15 guilty plea to felony fourth-degree grand larceny.

Ms. Smithers stole $9,554.13 through cashing bad checks and electronic transfers in 2012 and 2013.

In addition to interim probation, she was ordered to pay $5,312.64 in restitution. Final sentencing was adjourned to Nov. 24.

Philip C. Noble, 26, of 2786 County Route 24, Russell, was sentenced to one year in St. Lawrence County jail Monday for violating his probation sentence.

Mr. Noble was placed on five years’ probation on May 6 for second-degree criminal mischief. Judge Richards said Mr. Noble has since tested positive for drugs, has been arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance and has failed to successfully complete chemical dependency treatment.

In addition to his jail sentence, Mr. Noble was ordered to pay $5,887.24 in restitution.

Stephen S. Grant III, 27, of 36 N. Main St., Norfolk, was sentenced to two years in prison as a second-felony offender for felony third-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Mr. Grant previously had been convicted Oct. 10, 2006, for third-degree attempted burglary.

In addition to his prison sentence, he was sentenced to two years of post-release supervision and ordered to pay $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Eldridge Gossom, 26, Buffalo, was sentenced to five years in prison for the felony of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Mr. Gossom was one of four men arrested Dec. 6, 2012, in a raid by Ogdensburg police on an apartment at 325 Belmont Courts. Mr. Gossom has flip-flopped on his admission to being involved in an Ogdensburg-based drug ring. On July 12 he pleaded guilty to the charge; however, that plea was vacated and he was jailed Sept. 30 by Judge Richards after he refused to admit his involvement in the drug ring and tested positive for marijuana during his sentencing. Mr. Gossom re-entered his guilty plea Nov. 18.

In addition to his prison sentence, he was sentenced to three years of post-release supervision and ordered to pay $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Jamar K. Richey, 31, Utica, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony.

On July 10, 2012, in Ogdensburg, Mr. Richey was found in possession of cocaine with the intent to sell it.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10. Mr. Richey is facing five years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision. He was returned to St. Lawrence County jail, where he is being held without bail.

Terry L. Sweeney, 43, of 1041 Old Potsdam-Parishville Road, Potsdam, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated.

On Feb. 23, Mr. Sweeney was operating a 2008 Dodge with a blood alcohol content of 0.22 percent on Depot Street, Potsdam.

A BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered proof of intoxication under state law. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or more. A DWI charge is a felony when there is a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years.

Mr. Sweeney has a previous DWI misdemeanor conviction on July 15, 2009, in Potsdam.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7. He was released under probation supervision.

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