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Norfolk man pleads guilty to 2012 gun theft and possession

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CANTON — A Norfolk man pleaded guilty Friday in St. Lawrence County Court to his involvement in thefts on at least two dates in August and September 2012.

Jason P. Morgan, 30, of 165 Mill Road, pleaded guilty to felony second-degree burglary and the violent felony of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in a plea deal with the district attorney’s office.

Mr. Morgan told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that on Aug. 30, 2012, he stole several guns from the Kenneth Cornell home, County Route 39, Norfolk. He also admitted to being in possession of a loaded .22 caliber Ruger pistol belonging to Mr. Cornell on Sept. 14, 2012, with his wife, Kathleen Morgan.

The deal comes just before Mr. Morgan’s scheduled trial this week. Judge Richards said as a part of the deal, he was committed to sentencing Mr. Morgan to a maximum of seven years in prison on both charges and would order him to pay restitution totaling $4,515.60.

Mr. Morgan was returned to St. Lawrence County jail, where he has been held for the last 16 months on the charges, without bail pending sentencing.

Judge Richards told Mr. Morgan that if he did not comply with the rules of the jail before sentencing, he would no longer be bound by his commitment and Mr. Morgan could face harsher punishment.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 28.

In other court action Friday:

Joseph M. Olmstead, 31, of 20 Boynton St., Massena, was sentenced to 113 to 4 years in prison after his Nov. 20 guilty plea to felony aggravated driving while intoxicated.

Mr. Olmstead was driving on North Main Street in Massena on Aug. 30 when he was stopped by police. His blood alcohol content was 0.21 percent. The state legal limit is 0.08 percent; aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or higher. Mr. Olmstead was convicted of misdemeanor DWI on Sept. 13, 2008, in Norfolk Town Court.

Sentencing originally had been scheduled for Jan. 27, but he did not show up. On Feb. 3, Judge Richards issued a warrant for his arrest and state police picked him up Friday.

Before sentencing, Mr. Olmstead’s attorney, Public Defender Stephen D. Button, asked the judge to take into consideration that Mr. Olmstead said he would be able to provide state police with information on drug cases in the area.

“I simply said no,” Judge Richards told Mr. Olmstead.

Judge Richards also ordered Mr. Olmstead to pay $2,070 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Jesse J. Johnson, 31, of 111 Guiles Road, Edwards, was sentenced to five years’ probation and five days in St. Lawrence County jail after his Jan. 6 guilty plea to felony aggravated DWI.

On March 1, 2013, Mr. Johnson operated a 1999 Hyundai on County Route 27 in Canton with a BAC of 0.18 percent. He has a previous DWI conviction in the town of Huron, Wayne County, on Sept. 24, 2008.

Judge Richards also ordered him to pay $2,070 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Joshua R. Compo, 24, of 729 Caroline St., Ogdensburg, had his probation sentence for third-degree criminal possession of a weapon vacated for violations and was sentenced to weekends in jail.

Judge Richards said Mr. Compo violated his probation by missing a number of appointments with St. Lawrence County Chemical Dependency Services from December to February.

Prior to a plea of leniency from Mr. Compo’s employer, Mr. Compo was facing up to four years in prison, Judge Richards said.

Judge Richards sentenced him to 365 days’ worth of weekends in St. Lawrence County jail starting every Friday at 6 p.m. and ending Sundays at 6 p.m.

Brooke B. Benjamin, 22, of 1008, California Road, Gouverneur, pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance, both class B felonies.

It is alleged that on Feb. 7, in the village of Gouverneur, she sold heroin to another person.

Ms. Benjamin is being held in Onondaga County jail, Syracuse, on charges of second-degree escape, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, possession of a hypodermic instrument, two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, false personation, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree grand larceny and third-degree burglary.

She was sent to the St. Lawrence County jail on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

Rashad J. “J.B.” Byrd, 37, of Rochester, was released from St. Lawrence County jail as a result of a 45-day motion filed by Assistant Conflict Defender Heather A. Dona. The district attorney’s office has 45 days from the time of a felony arrest to bring an indictment.

Mr. Byrd is charged with felony third-degree criminal possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell. He had been in jail since his arrest Jan. 7 by St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force detectives following a vehicle stop on Route 37 in Ogdensburg. Detectives said that the bust was part of a crack cocaine distribution investigation and that they recovered $800 worth of crack cocaine in Mr. Byrd’s driver’s side door.

Nancy L. Best, 30, of Niagara Falls, was released from St. Lawrence County jail as a result of a 45-day motion filed by Ms. Dona.

Ms. Best and James G. “Jamie” Spotted Elk Jr., 40, of Sanborn, were charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana after 1.1 pounds of marijuana allegedly was found in their vehicle during a traffic stop Jan. 10.

Ms. Best also was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

In court action Thursday:

Aaron M. Vice, 35, of 480 County Route 37, Massena, was sentenced to 113 to 4 years in prison after his Feb. 19 guilty plea to felony aggravated DWI.

Mr. Vice was stopped April 14 driving a 1995 Ford on Parker Avenue in Massena with a BAC of 0.18 percent, police said. He had a previous DWI conviction on June 23, 2005, in the town of Guilderland, Albany County.

In addition to his prison sentence, Judge Richards ordered Mr. Vice to pay $2,070 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

In court action Wednesday:

Frederick G. Beha, 48, of Parishville, pleaded guilty to felony aggravated DWI.

On Feb. 11, 2013, Mr. Beha was in a car accident on Route 72 in the town of Parishville with an 11-year-old child in the vehicle.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 28. He remains free under probation supervision.

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