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This is Rochester
   A summary of noteworthy crime news in Greater Rochester
  More from 2019

Opponents speak out against bail reforms

Nov. 14, 2019 -- A coalition of political leaders and law enforcement officials is pressing lawmakers in Albany to postpone the scheduled implementation of reforms that include the elimination of bail for misdemeanors and non-violent crimes.

Beginning Jan. 1, many suspects charged with those lesser crimes will be issued appearance tickets and set free without having to post bail. Supporters of the change have contended that cash bail is used as a punitive measure that keeps impoverished suspects behind bars while those who can afford to pay are set free pending trial.

"It's an assault on the poor to have them sitting in jail because they can't afford to pay," said Ashley Gantt of the ACLU of New York.

Opponents say the reforms will cause havoc and ignore the rights of victims.

"This was slipped into the budget bill -- no resources were given to law enforcement," said Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode. "2020 is going to be a year of experimentation in law enforcement, and our duty is to speak up and say something. We are here sounding the alarm."

According to a report from district attorney's across the state, offenses that will not require bail beginning in January include:

  • Assault in the third degree
  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
  • Grand larceny in the first degree
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds or criminal possession of a firearm
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
  • Making a terroristic threat
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degree
  • Resisting arrest
  • Tampering with a juror and tampering with physical evidence
  • Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
  • Enterprise corruption and money laundering in the first degree
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals
"This is going to be an abject nightmare in January. An abject nightmare and it's going to affect everybody," said Jim Ritts, district attorney for Ontario County.

Other provisions of the new law include giving a person who's accused the opportunity to return to the scene of the crime, which could be the victim's own home.

Arrest made in 1982 Brighton ax-murder case

Nov. 8, 2019 -- Brighton police have charged James Krauseneck with second-degree murder in connection to the February 1982 killing of his wife in the family's home.

Authorities said Cathleen Krauseneck, 29, was single blow to her head from an ax taken from the garage. The couple's 3-year-old daughter was home at the time of the attack.

James Krauseneck, now 67, told police he had found his wife's body in the couple's bed after returning home late in the afternoon from his job at Kodak. According to reports, Krauseneck has since remarried three times. He has most recently been living in Peoria, Arizona. He has always denied involvement in the crime.

New arrest in Rochester Housing Charities scandal

Nov. 4, 2019 -- An executive secretary for the Rochester Housing Authority has been accused of conspiring to defraud Rochester Housing Charities, federal prosecuters said.

Janis White, 58, has been charged with defrauding and conspiring to defraud the organization, as well as with obstructing a government investigation. Prosecutors said she previously served as the RHC board secretary and bookkeeper.

According to prosecutors, the charges are connected to HHJ Property Development, created last year by White's mother and stepfather but controlled by White, who fraudulently billed RHC more than $87,000 for work that had never been done.

A federal grand jury subpoena was served against HHJ in December 2018. Prosecutors say the company's response earlier this year allegedly included fraudulent documents drawn up in an effort to make HHJ look legitimate.

If convicted, White could face up to 20 years in prison on each charge.

White is the third person in the past year to be charged with defrauding the RHA and related organizations. Former Rochester City Council Vice President Adam McFadden pleaded guilty in April to fraud and filing a false tax return for defrauding the agency. Former RHA Board Chairman George Moses was indicted on 28 federal charges this month, including wire fraud.

Multiple arrests made following East End fracas

Nov. 1, 2019 -- Rochester Police took five people into custody after a fight in Rochester's East End. Officers said they were patrolling the bar district near East Avenue and Alexander Street when they saw a fight break out.

Police said they took five people into custody and were able to disperse the rest of the crowd. Four people from Greece, ranging from ages 21-26, and a 24-year-old from Kent were charged with disorderly conduct.

Two people were taken to hospitals to be treated for the incident.

Webster police make arrest in women's slaying

Oct. 29, 2019 -- Webster police have arrested a man in connection with the slaying of a 56-year-old woman earlier this month.

Piero Scala, 39, has been charged with second-degree murder in the Oct. 7 stabbing death of Cathy O'Brien on Oakdale Drive. O'Brien was found on Oct. 9 inside the home.

Astacio facing additional probaton violation charges

Oct. 25, 2019 -- Former Rochester City Court judge Leticia Astacio is representing herself after she allegedly violating the conditions of her probation again.

According to court paperwork, Astacio tested positive for alcohol at the probation office in June and did not report to her probation officer on two separate occasions in August. In Rochester City Court, Astacio told the judge that she intentionally stopped reporting to her probation officer to get a violation of probation because she wanted to get back in front of a judge. She argued that her sentence on the DWI conviction is illegal.

Astacio, convicted of DWI in 2016 while she was still a judge and removed from the bench last year, is due back in court on Nov. 12.

Additional charges filed against former RHA chairman

Oct. 24, 2019 -- George Moses faces a new 28-count indictment accusing the former chairman of the Rochester Housing Authority of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Moses, 50, is accused of defrauding a local housing charity and colluding with former City Council Vice President Adam McFadden to steal from a nonprofit providing after-school programs for city youth. Prosecutors say the criminal acts continued while Moses was already under federal investigation and indictment.

Moses initially was charged in October 2018 with lying to the FBI stemming from an investigation involving McFadden, executive director of Quad A for Kids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick said the new charges involve "alleged schemes to defraud Quad A for Kids and Rochester Housing Charities."

Moses is on leave as the executive director of North East Area Development Association, a nonprofit organization. He also served as board chairman of the RHA until his initial arrest, and was a member of the board of directors for RHA subsidiary Rochester Housing Charities between March 2015 and 2017. McFadden briefly served as interim executive director of RHA.

McFadden previously pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return. In separate plea hearings, he admitted to submitting phony invoices totaling $131,000 to Quad A and defrauding the housing charity of $134,000 by exaggerating his consulting work.

Two arrests in connection with fatal July shooting

Oct. 24, 2019 -- Investigators in Rochester have arrested two people in connection to a shooting death over the summer.

Rochester Police arrested Rickey Moore Jr., 16, and Josiah Wright, 18. Moore was arraigned in Youth Part Court; Wright was arraigned in Monroe County Court. Both were charged with second-degree murder and four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The two are accused in a July 10 shooting on Ernst Street. Daniel Sutton Jr., 26, was shot at least once outside a house on Ernst Street, ran into a store on Hudson Avenue and was eventually taken by a private vehicle to the Rochester General Hospital, where he died.

Two arrests in spring jewelry store robbery

Oct. 23, 2019 -- Two Rochester men have been arrested after a six-month-long investigation into a robbery of as much as a quarter of a million dollars of merchandise from a jewelry store in Pittsford.

Monroe County Sheriff's deputies said Naquan White, 23, and Alphonso Bouie Jr., 25, have been charged in connection with the robbery of The Source Fine Jewelers on Monroe Avenue on April 27. Deputies said White and Bouie smashed one of the plate glass windows around 3:35 a.m. using a sledgehammer and entered the store to loot three cases containing jewelry.

Investigators said the jewelry was worth between $212,000 and $250,000.

White and Bouie were charged with second-degree grand larceny, third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief. Both men were arraigned and remanded to the Monroe County Jail in lieu of bail.

Florida man pleads to manslaughter charge in May death

Oct. 23, 2019 -- An Orlando, Florida, man admitted to causing the death of a Rochester woman earlier this year after striking her in the head.

Jonathan Morales, 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 29-year-old Kirstie Slingerland on May 26. Her body was found in an empty industrial building at 367 Orchard St.

Morales fled to Florida and was eventually taken into custody with the help of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The plea deal stipulates Morales will serve 20 years in state prison after being sentenced Nov. 20 by state Supreme Court Justice Alex Renzi.


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