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Two Watertown men avoid prison with Drug Court referral

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Two men avoided state prison sentences Thursday in Jefferson County Court by agreeing to participate in a substance abuse rehabilitation program that serves as an alternative to incarceration.

Robert L. Bell II, 23, of 633 Bradley St., was referred to Drug Court after pleading guilty to third-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He admitted that on Jan. 16 he entered a warehouse on Van Duzee Street with the intent to commit a crime and that he damaged a door to gain entry.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia L. Dzuiba said if Mr. Bell successfully completes Drug Court, he will have his felony burglary conviction vacated and will be allowed to plead guilty to third-degree criminal trespassing with a proposed sentence of one year of probation. The fourth-degree criminal mischief conviction will stand, with a proposed sentence of three years’ probation. If he is unsuccessful, he faces a three- to six-year prison sentence.

Ross R. Pierce, 27, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy and admitted violating probation before being referred to Drug Court. He admitted that in September he allowed his 611 Bronson St. residence to be used as a place where others gathered to sell heroin. At the time, he was serving three years’ probation imposed in August 2010 in County Court for convictions on two counts of petit larceny. He admitted violating probation by being convicted of the new crime.

If he is successful in Drug Court, his felony fourth-degree conspiracy conviction will be vacated, his probation violation will be withdrawn and he will be allowed to plead guilty to fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor, according to Ms. Dzuiba. He then would face a sentence of three years’ probation. If he is unsuccessful, he will face a proposed two- to four-year prison sentence.

In court activity Friday:

Amber M. Come, 24, Adams, was sentenced to an unspecified amount of time served at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building and five years’ probation for a March 14 guilty plea to third-degree attempted robbery. She admitted that on Jan. 13 she tried to push a customer out of the way as she attempted to leave the Mercer’s convenience store in Adams with stolen property.

Carmelo A. Rivera, 24, of 522 Main St., Glen Park, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal trespassing and was sentenced to time served at the PSB. He was charged with entering Brownville-Glen Park Elementary School on Nov. 9.

Jasma N. Ryan, 26, Adams, was arraigned on two counts each of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. The charges were contained in a grand jury indictment unsealed in court. It is alleged that she had and sold cocaine twice on the same late January day. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was sent to the PSB on $20,000 bail. She had been sentenced in January 2010 to five years’ probation for a fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance conviction.

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