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Plea deal in DeKalb burglary falls apart for North Dakota man

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CANTON — A North Dakota man’s attempt at accepting a plea deal for an alleged DeKalb burglary in July went south Friday in St. Lawrence County Court when he was unable to admit guilt.

Louis J. Massei, 53, a cross-dresser who told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that his legal name in Oregon is Lisa, is charged with the violent class C felony of second-degree burglary and misdemeanor petit larceny with Robert J. Warren Jr., 50, also of North Dakota. The two men, both Level 3 sex offenders, were allegedly found by Warren’s estranged cousin, Linda Cutway, leaving her residence in the town of DeKalb when she was returning home on July 6.

As a part of the proposed plea deal in court Friday, Massei agreed to plead guilty to the second-degree burglary charge, confessing to his knowledge that jewelry and other items had been stolen from Ms. Cutway’s home.

The indictment against Warren was dismissed on Feb. 21 with leave to represent to a second grand jury. He is still being held in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

As an additional requirement to the proposed plea deal Friday, Massei would have been required to testify truthfully against Warren in grand jury, at trial and in a submitted written statement regarding the events that took place on July 6.

Judge Richards told Massei he also would have to cooperate in the attempted recovery of weapons allegedly stolen later that same day during a second burglary at a Morristown residence.

If Massei complied with the requirements of the plea deal, he would have been able to plea to a reduced class D violent felony of second-degree attempted burglary and would have been sentenced to five years in prison and five years of post-release supervision.

But following his guilty plea and his agreement to all of the requirements, Mr. Massei began to recount the events that unfolded that day in July and said that while he was with Warren when he went to his cousin’s home, he didn’t know that items were stolen from it.

“I didn’t know those items were in my vehicle until the police told me,” Massei told Judge Richards.

“What about the ring they found in your rectum?” the judge asked him.

State police located Warren and Massei at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino later that day and while Warren was taken into custody without incident, Mr. Massei said he panicked prior to his apprehension about 20 minutes later at the Comfort Inn, next door to the casino, and he hid the ring in his rectum.

“I’m not taking your plea,” Judge Richards said. “I’m not going to listen to you not allocute the crime. If you didn’t commit the crime we will set it for a hearing and got to trial and see what happens.”

Massei now runs the risk of being sentenced to 15 years in prison if convicted on the current burglary charge and a possible consecutive 15 years if he is indicted and convicted in the alleged Morristown burglary.

Massie was returned to St. Lawrence County jail, where he is being held on $150,000 cash bail and $300,000 bond.

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