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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Despite new charges, Massena man gets benefit of plea bargain deal

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By RYNE R. MARTIN

CANTON - A Massena man charged with stealing items from vehicles in the village a month before his sentencing on a drug sale count was sentenced to time served and placed under probation supervision for five years Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Judge Jerome J. Richards released Jacob L. Farrell, 21, of 28 Pine St., Apt. 2, from jail with credit for the 110 days he had served in custody on the charge and ordered him to pay restitution of $3.520 and pay $375 in fees and surcharges for a third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance conviction. His operating privileges were suspended, and the court gave Farrell seven days to set up a substance abuse evaluation.

The court pointed out Massena Village Police had charged Farrell with trespassing and petit larceny on Aug. 25 after he allegedly stole 15 X-box games and change from vehicles parked on Center Street

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole Duve said Farrell’s latest arrest meant the court was no longer bound by a negotiated plea bargain agreement calling for the Massena man to be sentenced to 180 days in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and placed on probation for five years. “The question now is should he be sentenced to prison,” she said.

Farrell had been indicted for two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance after he reportedly sold more than a half ounce of cocaine to a confidential informant on two occasions in March 2011.

St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button encouraged the court to hand down the negotiated sentence with a slight modification so his client could go back to work as an assistant manager at Wendy’s.

He noted Farrell had 110 days of hold time and with credit for good time would be eligible for release from the county jail in another 10 days after serving two thirds of his sentence.

“His employer has said they would be willing to keep his position open through the end of this week but after that there are no guarantees. I would hate for Mr. Farrell to lose the opportunity to have gainful employment,” he said.

Farrell thanked the court for assisting him in beating his substance abuse issues following his arrest on the drug sale charges.

“You don’t beat drug addiction. You learn to live with it. Drug addiction is forever. It’s not like a cut on your hand,” Judge Richards told Farrell.

He noted probation reports indicated Farrell had been complying with outpatient substance abuse treatment and noted he had rested negative for drug use Monday morning at the jail. “But allegedly you were out stealing from vehicles in the middle of the night. What would you be doing out in the middle of the night?” he asked, noting Farrell is reportedly supporting his girlfriend and eight-month-old child. “How are you going to stay on probation if you are out doing stupid stuff?”

Farrell proclaimed his innocence on the trespassing and petit larceny counts. “They picked me up at 5 in the morning on my front porch in my Wendy’s uniform,” he said.

In other recent court action before Judge Richards:

■ Nicole Smith, 31, of 252 Empire Ave., Syracuse, was placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay $200 in fines and surcharges for a fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana conviction. Her operating privileges were suspended.

Smith had been indicted for first-degree criminal possession of marijuana after she was found in possession of approximately 23 pounds of marijuana on June 10, 2011 in the town of Waddington.

District Attorney Nicole Duve had asked the court to consider a split sentence of some time in the county jail and five years under probation supervision, a request that Judge Richards said wasn’t unreasonable based on Smith’s August arrests for third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident where she allegedly threw a beer bottle that struck someone else in the head.

Defense attorney Laurence Wangerman countered the probation department hadn’t recommended incarceration in its pre-sentence report. He noted Smith had a part-time job and was the mother of three small children.

■ Eddie Moses, 37, of Potsdam pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in a plea bargain agreement that will require him to make restitution of at least $1,000. He had been indicted on a second-degree assault count.

He admitted he had injured Michael Ayotte during an incident June 12, 2011 outside Friar Tuck’s in the village of Massena. Mr. Ayotte reportedly suffered fractures to the left side of his face, a fractured jaw and an injury to his eye socket and required several stitches to the back of his head.

He was treated initially at Massena Memorial Hospital and then was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt.

The court directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 26. Moses’ release under the supervision of the probation department was continued.

“Probation is going to interview you. I don’t know what happened but if you blame it on the other guy I will vacate your plea and let a jury decide,” Judge Richards told Moses.

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