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Massena judge rejects plea bargain agreement

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MASSENA - The Massena village justice expressed reservations about a plea bargain agreement that would have allowed a Massena man initially charged with a felony forgery count to plead guilty to a violation and be sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson suggested that if the allegations in the charges filed against Timothy F. Trimm, 41, of 2 Willow St., Massena, were proven, he felt the Massena man deserved a harsher punishment.

Village police had charged Trimm with false personation, second-degree forgery and petit larceny June 30, 2012 after he and a co-defendant shoplifted merchandise, including two 24 packs of Bud Light and a 12-pack of Twisted Tea, from Price Chopper.

Trimm identified himself at the time of his arrest on the petit larceny charge as Chris F. Chapion, 37, listing the same day and month of his own birthdate, when he was booked on the petit larceny charge. He also the completed the booking process by signing Mr. Chapion’s name on his fingerprint cards.

Prosecutors, under the administration of former District Attorney Nicole M. Duve, had filed a motion reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor and offered Trimm a plea to a misdemeanor that would result in him being sentenced to 90 days in the county jail if he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor forgery count. He rejected that offer.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Brenna J. Ryan said the latest plea bargain offer took into account the case dated back to June 2012. She had offered Trimm a plea to a disorderly conduct violation.

“It’s just old, and Mr. (former Assistant District Attorney Andrew) Botts didn’t proceed to a grand jury in a timely fashion,” she suggested.

Defense attorney Denice (Goodrich) Smith said she also felt there were proof problems with the case. She said the district attorney’s office last offer would have allowed Trimm to plead guilty to a violation, but he had rejected that offer after Mr. Gustafson said he would sentence him to 15 days in the county jail if he entered a guilty plea.

Mr. Gustafson said his review of the case file led him to believe there weren’t any timeliness issues and said he was prepared to keep the case on the trial calendar.

“Then everybody will be taking their chances,” he said.

In other court action before Judge Gustafson:

• Christopher J. McGregor, 33, of 11 Tracy St., Massena, had his sentencing for a third-degree assault conviction adjourned until Sept. 23.

Mr. Gustafson ordered the adjournment to give the probation department time to draft the terms of a three-year sentence he plans to impose on McGregor. The village justice said he was unwilling to move forward with the recommendation McGregor be placed under a one-year conditional discharge.

“I just don’t think a conditional discharge is appropriate, but I do think probation is a better alternative than sticking you in jail,” the village justice told McGregor.

• Cindy M. Alguire, 44, of 95 South Grasse River Road, had a felony count of first-degree criminal nuisance sent up to superior court for possible presentment to a grand jury.

Ms. Ryan said Chief Assistant District Attorney David Haggard was still investigating the case and said no plea bargain offer had been extended to Alguire.

The criminal nuisance charge alleges Alguire allowed drug activity to take place at her residence and benefited by gaining money, police said at the time of her May 23 arrest.

She was one of four people — three Massena residents and a New York City man — charged with felony counts after the execution of a search warrant May 23 on South Grasse River Road following an undercover investigation by the Massena Narcotics Enforcement Unit and the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force.

Police charged Shawn W. Woodberry, 33, Jamaica, Queens, with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He allegedly was in possession of 20 grams of crack cocaine and 2 grams of heroin. He also allegedly was in possession of a Taser gun. Police said Woodberry has a prior criminal conviction and is not allowed to possess any weapons.

Timothy D. Alguire Jr., 34, of 95 South Grasse River Road, was charged with one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and first-degree criminal nuisance.

Investigators also said Alguire was in possession of 1 gram of a substance that reportedly field-tested positive for heroin packaged in several plastic bags that were designed for sale of the product.

Police said Robert A. Gonyou, 37, of 2 Ripley St., was also taken into custody that night after he showed up at 95 South Grasse River Road during the execution of the search warrant.

Police said Gonyou was arrested on a bench warrant signed in October alleging he had failed to appear in village court on second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief counts.

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