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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena man jailed after he won’t take drug test


MASSENA - A Massena’s man initial refusal and then apparent inability to complete a drug test cost him his freedom during an appearance in Massena Village Court.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson directed Joshua Henderson, 24, of 68 East Orvis St., Massena, after court security informed him the Massena man smelled like marijuana. Henderson was making a court appearance on a third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle count. Prosecutors had apparently been prepared to offer a plea bargain that would have allowed Henderson to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct violation to satisfy the pending misdemeanor charge.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Botts recommended Henderson be sent to the county jail with bail set at $1,000. “He apparently showed up for court high on THC and doesn’t want to be tested,” he noted.

Henderson initially refused to submit to the drug test being conducted by a representative from the St. Lawrence County Probation Department. He told the court he would fell uncomfortable taking the test - noting he had been accompanied to court by his “girl(friend). I feel I’m here for a different reason,” he told Mr. Gustafson.

The village justice noted when defendants are released under the supervision of the probation department the court expects certain behaviors. “You come in smelling of marijuana and then don’t want to do a drug test. That’s fine,” Mr. Gustafson.

But the village justice said that meant he was going to have to reconsider Henderson’s release status, pointing out that Henderson has had several different addresses in Monroe County and the Massena area over the past year and still had several charges pending in Monroe County.

He asked Henderson if he could post any bail.

“None of my friends has a job right now,” Henderson responded. “I’m not a runner.”

The village justice had urged the former Rochester area man to take the drug test. “Smoking a little pot isn’t the worst thing that comes before me, even today,” Mr. Gustafson.

But the village justice said Henderson’s refusal to take the drug test left the court with little incentive to work with him to keep him out of jail. Mr. Gustafson set bail at $500 cash or bond. Henderson later posted bail and was released from custody.

Henderson had been charged with taking Tammy Embark’s 2008 Toyota Scion without her consent in the early morning hours of Nov. 1. He drove the vehicle for approximately five hours before returning it. Henderson was dating Ms. Embark’s daughter at the time of the incident.

Henderson had been charged with first-degree aggravated criminal contempt and third-degree assault on April 9 and first-degree criminal contempt, petit larceny, second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child on April 12 in Monroe County. He had been charged with aggravated harassment and obstruction of governmental administration June 30 in the town of Bombay.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Christopher Miller, 27, of 209 East Orvis St., Massena, was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay a $205 surcharge after pleading guilty to one count of criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. He had been found in possession of three needles during a Dec. 11 search of his residence by New York state Parole and Community Services officers.

Miller was returned to the county jail, where he is being held on a parole detainer. He is expected to be sent back a state correctional facility for violating the conditions of his parole.

Miller had been sentenced to one to four years in prison for a third-degree rape conviction from St. Lawrence County Court. He had entered state prison on Aug. 3, 2010 and was released under parole supervision on May 11, 2012.

The maximum expiration date of his sentence is Sept. 12, 2013.

■ David D. Murray, 53, of 161 Water St., Apt. 1, Massena, was fined $200 and a $125 surcharge for a second-degree harassment conviction. He was also placed under a one-year conditional discharge with stipulations he commit no further offenses and abide by the terms of a no harassment order of protection.

Murray had been charged with harassment and disorderly conduct following a domestic dispute with his wife, Erin Hanna-Murray, on Nov. 15. He reportedly grabbed her by the arm, forced her to the door and shoved her out of their residence.

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