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Wed., Oct. 7
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Robbery investigation aided by suspect’s confession to mom


LOUISVILLE - A kiss followed by an “I love you” and confession from one of the two men charged in connection with the allegedly fabricated robbery at Steve’s Stop & Shop Tuesday night in Louisville provided the break police needed to wrap up their investigation.

Massena-based state police charged Kristopher G. Brothers, 20, of Massena with sixth-degree conspiracy and petit larceny. Tyler D. Maxwell, 19, of Louisville, was charged with petit larceny, sixth-degree conspiracy, and additional counts of making a punishable false written statement and third-degree falsely reporting an incident. Maxwell was working at the store when the alleged theft of approximately $950 took place.

Brothers’s mother, Leanne M. Champion-Barse, in a statement she gave to state troopers, said she gave her son a ride to Steve’s Stop & Shop, because he said Maxwell, a friend of his who worked at the store, owed him some money.

“Tonight at approximately 7:50 p.m. I was contacted by my son, Kristopher Brothers. Kristopher needed a ride to his uncle’s house in Louisville to get some clean clothes. He also said he needed to stop out to Steve’s store in Louisville because his friend Taylor Maxwell owed him some money,” Ms. Barse said. “I gave Kristopher a ride in my silver Buick with my boyfriend, Dale Amo. When we got to Steve’s Kristopher went inside while I waited in the car.”

Mr. Amo also gave a statement to police, noting that neither he or Ms. Barse were aware they were taking Brothers to the store to take money.

“I had no knowledge that anything like this was taking place, nor did I ever think that Kris would do anything like this or involve me or his mother,” he said.

Up to this point, Ms. Barse said she had no idea that anything illegal had taken place.

After driving to her brother’s home and discovering no lights were on, Ms. Barse said brought Brothers back to Massena.

“When we got into Massena, Kristopher asked me to take him to William Rochefort’s house,” she said, adding that it was after dropping him off there, that she first learned of the crime.

“Kristopher got out of the car, and he then came over to the driver side window. He gave me a kiss and said, ‘I love you mom. I think I am going to do a lot of time. I just robbed the Louisville store,’” Ms. Barse said, noting that at that point she didn’t believe him.

“I thought Kristopher was lying to me because he has lied to me several times before about cutting himself,” she said. “I was also surprised that he kissed me because I had kicked him out of my house two days ago.

Ms. Barse said the reason she did that was Brothers and his girlfriend were using drugs in her home.

“I caught Kristopher and his girlfriend about to inject themselves with some heroin in my basement,” she said. “I told them to give me the needle and they did not. I threw them out of the house at that point.”

After arriving back at her home, without Brothers, Ms. Barse said she learned from her daughter that the Louisville store had really been robbed. Brothers then called him mother again, however this time he told she had noting to worry about.

“At this point Kristopher had called my cell phone. Kristopher said, ‘Mom, I love you. Don’t worry about anything Taylor is going to tell them it was a black guy in a green pick up truck.’”

Not knowing what to do after her son confessed the crime to her, Ms. Barse said she called her mother. At the same time her boyfriend was “worried about everything.”

“I built up anger knowing that Taylor and Kristopher had made this story up,” she said, noting that at that point she decided to go to the police, ultimately giving them her statement at just after 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

At that point, police had already been investigating what they thought was an armed robbery for nearly two hours.

Maxwell, who reported the robbery, initially told police that a white male wearing a camouflage coat and jeans with a dark bandana covering his face entered the store at 8:17 p.m. and displayed a revolver. He described the allegedly fabricated suspect as a white male, approximately 5’11 and 180 pounds, adding he left the scene in a dark colored pick up truck, possibly a Ford Ranger, heading eastbound on state Route 37.

Both men were arraigned in Norfolk Town Court.

Maxwell was sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $1,500 cash, and Brothers was sent to the county jail with bail set at $1,000 cash.

They are both scheduled to reappear March 12 in the town of Louisville Court.

The New York State Police were assisted in the investigation by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and United States Border Patrol.

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