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St. Lawrence inmate pleads not guilty in burglary case

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CANTON — A St. Lawrence County jail inmate indicted again on a July burglary charge this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday in County Court.

Robert J. Warren Jr., 50, of Streeter, N.D., pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on charges of felony second-degree burglary and misdemeanor petit larceny.

On July 6, Mr. Warren and codefendant Louis “Lisa” J. Massei, 53, also of North Dakota, allegedly were found leaving the DeKalb residence of his estranged cousin, Linda Cutway, when the homeowners returned. At the time of the arrest, police said the two were confronted, but the alleged burglary was not discovered until after they left and the homeowners found empty jewelry boxes.

The two had originally been indicted on July 12. Mr. Warren’s original indictment was dismissed Feb. 21 because he wasn’t given the opportunity to testify before the grand jury.

He was reindicted on May 1.

During arraignment Tuesday, Mr. Warren again asked County Judge Jerome J. Richards to recuse himself from the case.

On Aug. 19, Mr. Warren made a motion requesting that Judge Richards and the District Attorney’s office recuse themselves from his case because he didn’t believe the judge could be fair and impartial. He said Judge Richards was district attorney in 1999 when he sent a letter to corrections officials to “deal with Warren when he engaged in acts that violated his probation.” Mr. Warren had been sentenced in 1998 to 10 years in prison for attempted escape and other charges that included first-degree sexual abuse.

Judge Richards denied the motion on Aug. 23.

Mr. Warren said in court Tuesday that he was told by county Public Defender Stephen D. Button that Judge Richards hated him. Mr. Button denied the claim, telling the court he had no knowledge about any feelings Judge Richards had toward Mr. Warren.

“It doesn’t matter if he said it or not,” Judge Richards told Mr. Warren. “It’s untrue. I have no opinion about you on a personal level. You are here before me as a defendant. That is it.”

Mr. Warren was returned to the jail without bail.

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