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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena man strikes out in effort to be released from custody

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MASSENA - A 24-year-old Massena man was sent back to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail continued at $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond after prosecutors sought a delay in a scheduled preliminary hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to hold the case over for grand jury action.

Village police had charged Darrell J. Herne Jr., of 190 Center St., Massena, with second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon after police responded to a complaint at 12:31 a.m. Saturday.

He reportedly struck James D. “Country” Martin, 35, during an argument in the kitchen of an apartment at 190 Center St. Mr. Martin was transported to Massena Memorial Hospital for treatment of a broken jaw.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney A. Michael Gebo requested the adjournment. He told Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson that Mr. Martin remained hospitalized from injuries he shad suffered in that incident.

Mr. Gebo said it was his understanding Mr. Martin had suffered a broken jaw in the attack. “Under the circumstances, it appears to be a significant injury. He’s still at the facility,” he noted.

The prosecutor told Mr. Gustafson he did not have any medical records to share with the court. “This occurred less than a week ago. We are in the process of trying to get medical records from the hospital, and we hope to present this case to the grand jury as soon as possible,” he said.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Conflict Defender Heather Dona had opposed the adjournment request made by the District Attorney’s Office. She pointed out prosecutors had failed to provide the court with any medical records proving Mr. Martin was still hospitalized and, if he was, that he was in the facility as a result of the injuries he had suffered during an alleged altercation with her client.

But Mr. Gustafson granted the adjournment and placed the case on the court docket for Tuesday. He told Ms. Dona she could renew her motion on Tuesday if prosecutors had failed to provide the court with medical documents detailing Mr. Martin’s injuries by that time.

Mr. Martin told police he was visiting Jamie Jandrew at the apartment she shares with Herne when he got into an argument with Herne about the way he felt Herne was treating his housemate, according to court documents.

“Darrell grabbed a baseball bat. I was standing by the refrigerator when Darrell hit me with the baseball bat once in the jaw. After I got hit with the bat, I left Jamie’s and went to my father’s house,” Mr. Martin said in the statement he provided police.

Herne, in his statement to police, denied striking Mr. Martin with a bat. He said he had punched him once in the face.

Herne said he was sleeping when he was woken up by an argument over beer. “I heard my roommate, Jamie Jandrew, say, ‘Will any of you guys help me with this guy. You just gonna let him push me,’” he noted in his statement.

He told police Ms. Jandrew then pushed Mr. Martin, and the older man responded by punching his roommate in the face.

“Jamie was blocking the fridge so Country couldn’t get his beer. I jumped in and hit Country with everything I had. I hit Country in the face with my right hand, but I never touched a bat,” Herne said in the statement he provided police.

He said Mr. Martin’s friend, Patrick Barber, then pulled the alleged assault victim out of the apartment.

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