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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Massena man given last opportunity to avoid prison


CANTON — A Massena man with a history of mental health issues and confrontations with police officers was given one last opportunity to avoid state prison time.

Terry L. Bercume of 250 Main St., Apt. 6, Massena, was placed on one year of interim probation for his Dec. 23 guilty plea to the violent felony of second-degree assault.

Bercume, who has a history of confrontations with police officers, 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.

Bercume also punched Patrolman Vanier twice 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 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.

Bercume, who was facing a prison sentence Monday, but his attorney, Public Defender Stephen D. Button, told St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards that the pre-sentence investigation questioned punishing a man who had a history of mental health problems and only failed to continue taking his medication.

Following a meeting at the bench between Judge Richards, Mr. Button and District Attorney Mary E. Rain, it was agreed that if Bercume is unsuccessful in his interim probation sentence, he will face seven years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23. In addition to his probation, Mr. Bercume was ordered to pay $1,817.06 in restitution and court fines, fees and surcharges totaling $181.70.

In other court action Monday:

Brittani L. Sovie, 21, of 2649 Route 812, DeKalb Junction, was placed on one year of interim probation for her Dec. 23 guilty plea to two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Sovie used two credit cards belonging to George Ruddy, Waddington, which had been stolen from his vehicle’s glove box in late July. In the following week, she spent more than $900 at gas stations, restaurants and various other stores in the towns of Bombay and Massena, village of Massena and city of Ogdensburg.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Court documents indicated Sovie had been staying with her former boyfriend, Austin B. Villnave, at the home of his grandmother, Barbara Fairbridge. Villnave and Fairbridge reportedly traveled with Sovie when she went on a shopping spree with the stolen credit cards at the St. Lawrence Centre mall.

She then appeared later in the day before Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson and was arraigned on fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and theft of services. She reportedly used the stolen debit card to buy food valued at $20.33 from the McDonald’s, South Main Street, Massena, in the evening hours of July 31.

Sovie also has six counts of theft of services, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and one count of third-degree identity theft pending in the town of Waddington, two counts of invalid use of a credit card and a single count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in both the city of Ogdensburg and town of Bombay stemming from the alleged use of two of Mr. Ruddy’s cards.

She reportedly used the stolen credits to purchase $267.49 worth of merchandise at FYE, $137.47 worth of merchandise at Olynpia Sports, $35.69 worth of items at Deb’s, $36.84 worth of food at Sbarro’s and $180.46 worth of clothing from Maurice’s during her visit to the mall in the town of Massena. She also identified herself as Stacy Ruddy, Fenton Street, Waddington, to receive a $25 discount card when she was shopping at FYE.

The stolen credit cards were also used to purchase $184.19 worth of items at the Bear’s Den in the town of Bombay. She also made transactions for $50 at Stewart’s in Ogdensburg and $18.50 at McDonald’s, Ogdensburg, later that same week.

The third of four Buffalo men charged with crack cocaine sales in Ogdensburg following a drug raid is on interim probation after an apology for his actions, dodging a jail sentence Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Andre L. Wilson, 41, pleaded guilty to felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance on Dec. 2.

Wilson, along with Eldridge Gossom 26, Charles J.H. Caviness, 24, and Tige K. Smith Jr., 25, were arrested Dec. 6 following a raid by Ogdensburg police on an apartment at 325 Belmont Courts. Police said the arrests were the culmination of an ongoing investigation into crack cocaine trafficking in the city.

Gossom and Caviness were both sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Richards. Smith was scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 25 in County Court but did not appear and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Wilson was facing a similar sentence to his cohorts but in court Monday, Judge Richards said he received a recommendation from Erie County Probation Department recommending that Wilson be placed on interim probation as he had admitted wrong doing to officials there and said he had a limited criminal history but Special Prosecutor Nicole M. Duve begged to differ.

“Mr. Wilson came all the way here from Erie County. This is not a lark and he was indicted with three other people who were all selling the same product.” Ms. Duve. He had to plan and prepare to come here to sell cocaine and is a high level and involved participant.”

Ms. Duve suggested that Judge Richards consider some kind of incarceration in sentencing and while Wilson’s attorney Gregory P. Story said his client had gone through financial straits after he had been laid off several jobs Judge Richards said Wilson confessed to probation officials that he had taken several trips between Buffalo and St. Lawrence County, making $500 in crack sales.

“I’m sorry I came here and disrupted the city,” Wilson told Judge Richards. “I’ve learned from my actions. I’m really not a bad guy.”

Judge Richards placed Wilson on one year of interim probation and adjourned his sentence to Feb. 23. If he is successful in his probation, it is anticipated that Wilson will be sentenced to six months in the county jail and five years of probation. If he is unsuccessful, he faces up to nine years in prison.

John D. LaTray, 50, of 300 Franklin St., Ogdensburg, was sentenced to two to four years in prison as a second felony offender for his Dec. 23 guilty plea to felony first-degree criminal contempt in a plea offer with the St. Lawrence County district attorney’s office.

On Oct. 14, LaTray violated a court order of protection held by Nancy L. Bailey when he punched her in the face, causing injury to her eye.

On Jan. 22, 2008, Judge Richards sentenced Mr. LaTray to 18 months to three years in prison for the conviction on third-degree attempted burglary.

In addition to his sentence, Mr. LaTray was ordered to pay $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Jeffrey R. Bush, 30, of 105 Lake George Road, Russell, was placed on one year of interim probation for his Dec. 10 guilty plea to aggravated driving while intoxicated.

On March 17 Mr. Bush operated a 2002 Pontiac on Fine Street in Ogdensburg with traces of THC and the muscle relaxant carisoprodol in his system, while he had a 6-year-old and 10-year-old passenger.

Sentencing was adjourned to Feb. 23.

Gregory M. Lantier, 29, of 1621 County Route 3, Hammond, was released from St. Lawrence County jail by Judge Richards following an order to show cause made by Public Defender Stephen D. Button’s office.

According to the order, the district attorney’s office had 45 days to present a third-degree grand larceny charge against Lantier to a grand jury and that he had been held in jail for 101 days.

Mr. Lantier was released on his own recognizance.

Cody J. Gladle, 18, of Edwards, failed to appear in court for his sentencing to a Dec. 20 guilty plea to third-degree burglary.

At 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 22, Gladle broke into the Last Lap bar in Edwards and stole liquor, he told Judge Richards. Gladle additionally was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana at the time, stemming from a trespassing complaint Aug. 15 from the town of Edwards. His guilty plea satisfied both charges.

Judge Richards issued a warrant for his arrest.

Nicholas A. Delosh, 32, Morristown, was sent to the county jail for violating his probation sentence.

Judge Richards sentenced Delosh to three years’ probation for third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief convictions stemming from a domestic violence incident on June 10.

It is alleged that Delosh failed to report to probation as directed and failed to pay a restitution of $98.63.

Mario Giacco, 50, Moravia, was sentenced to two years of probation following his successful completion of one year of interim probation in connection with a December 2012 guilty plea to one count of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana on Jan. 8, 2012 in the town of Waddington when he was in possession of 4 pounds of marijuana. The Cayuga County man had conviction downgraded to a misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Probation supervision was transferred to Cayuga Probation Department and Mr. Giacco was ordered to pay court fines, fees and surcharges totaling $250.

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