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Akwesasne man sentenced to state prison for vehicular assault conviction


CANTON — A Hogansburg man charged with backing over another man while fleeing a Rooseveltown Road residence in June 2013 has been sentenced to serve up to four years in state prison.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards sentenced Michael T. Neff, 29, of 169 Raquette Point Road to one to four years in state prison for second-degree vehicular assault and a concurrent term of one year in jail for driving while intoxicated.

He also was fined $750 and ordered to pay $570 in court surcharges and fees.The judge also placed him under a three-year conditional discharge, with a stipulation he have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle he operates during that period.

He will be responsible for 50 percent of the costs of the device.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Joshua A. HaberkornHalm had urged the court to sentence Mr. Neff to the maximum prison sentence. He said Mr. Neff had refused treatment, had been completely uncooperative and had been charged with a new crime.

“He beat somebody up at the jail,” he said.

St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies charged Mr. Neff last week with felony second-degree assault. Deputies said he struck Barry L. Stone, 43, and caused injury during a fight Aug. 13 at the county jail.

County Public Defender Stephen D. Button said Mr. Neff already had entered a guilty plea to third-degree assault to satisfy that charge and was facing a six-month jail term for the conviction.

Mr. Button also noted his client already has served approximately 300 days in custody on the vehicular assault charge.

State police, with the assistance of St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, had charged Mr. Neff with first- and second-degree robbery, felony counts of DWI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving and unlawful possession of marijuana and cited him with leaving the scene of an accident and unsafe backing.

Mr. Neff was reported to have a blood alcohol content of 0.09 percent two hours after the incident. A BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered proof of intoxication under state law.

Troopers said Mr. Neff forcibly stole a cellphone from Angelina C. Frost at 5:53 a.m. June 2, 2013, at 374 Rooseveltown Road. She was treated at Massena Memorial Hospital for a sprained hand after he allegedly punched her in the hand when he was stealing the phone.

He then allegedly backed into Robert Boots while fleeing the residence, pinning Mr. Boots between his truck and an uninvolved vehicle.

Mr. Boots was taken to Massena Memorial Hospital for treatment of a fractured pelvis and a broken upper back, according to court documents.

In other county court action:

Joseph J. “J.J.” Belile, 30, Massena, was sentenced to two to four years in state prison after his conviction on a second-degree attempted-assault charge.

He also was ordered to make restitution of $1,073.85, which was reduced to civil judgment, and to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges. Mr. Belile faced a mandatory state prison sentence as a second-felony offender.

He was convicted in St. Lawrence County Court on June 30, 2008, of third-degree rape.

He had been indicted on a felony second-degree assault count in late November, charged with assaulting Timothy Thomas, another inmate, when he was incarcerated at the St. Lawrence County jail on Aug. 15, 2013.

The case had gone to trial in early June in County Court. The trial ended in a hung jury.

The July 7 plea to the attempted assault count covered a host of charges pending in Massena courts as well as a felony attempted-assault count and third-degree menacing charge pending from a May 28 incident at the county jail.

In that incident, Mr. Belile allegedly was involved in an altercation with a sergeant at the jail.

Thomas L. Pruett, 33, of 452 County Route 46, Massena, was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail for violating his probationary sentence. He was sentenced to three years’ probation in June 2013 for a DWI conviction.

Daniel F. Ryan, 43, Massena, was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail for failing to report to probation and failing to report a change of address. He was placed on three years’ probation in February 2013 after pleading guilty in October 2012 to one count of criminal contempt.

Nicholas A.J. Steenkamer, 19, of 525 E. Hayward St., Ogdensburg, pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and second-degree criminal sexual act, both Class D felonies.

St. Lawrence County Chief Assistant District Attorney David A. Haggard said the agreement included a commitment that Mr. Steenkamer will be sentenced to consecutive terms of one year in the county jail on each conviction.

He admitted he was over 18 years old when he had sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl in August 2013 and sexual intercourse with that same girl on Sept. 25.

Judge Richards sent him back to the county jail without bail pending sentencing on Oct. 6.

He warned the Ogdensburg man he needed to comply with the rules of the jail if he wanted to earn the benefit of his plea bargain agreement.

“If you fail to comply with their rules, you can face up to 14 years in state prison,” Mr. Richards said.

Timothy J. Green, 32, of 13 Pine St. Apt. B, Canton, was sentenced to five years’ probation, with credit for the year he successfully completed on interim probation, and ordered to pay the remaining restitution of $1,868.27 and a $50 fee to submit a sample of his DNA to the state’s database.

Restitution had been set at $2,143.27 when he was placed on one year of interim probation after pleading guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud, a Class E felony.

Mr. Green issued four checks totaling $201.69 to the Potsdam IGA supermarket in June 2012. All were returned for insufficient funds.

He used 16 invalid checks on June 27, 2009, for purchases at Price Chopper, Bressette’s Bottles N Beverage and Rex Hardware totaling $1,078.

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