MASSENA - A Massena man who walked out of Price Chopper in early January without paying for the 18-pack of beer in his cart learned that playing “Let’s Make A Deal” with a judge can have dangerous consequences.
Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson sentenced Jarrett C. Pelkey, 20, of 704 state Route 37C, Massena, to 15 days in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and ordered him to pay a $205 surcharge and a $50 fee to submit a sample of his DNA to the state database for a petit larceny conviction.
The plea bargain agreement had also satisfied an unrelated fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property count.
Pelkey told the court he had some concerns with the probation department’s pre-sentence investigation, including a recommendation he be placed under probation supervision.
He also suggested probation officials had mischaracterized his family situation, noting he felt his family wasn’t dysfunctional.
“They are pretty much saying my family members are screwed up. Maybe that is true for a couple of family members but not all of us,” he said.
He asked Mr. Gustafson if there were alternatives to a sentence that would require probation supervision.
“Yeah, I can sentence you to jail,” the village justice replied.
Pelkey told the court he took full responsibility for his actions and acknowledged his behavior had been stupid.
“I was just wondering how long I would have to sit in jail to bypass probation?” he asked.
Mr. Gustafson said he was contemplating a 15-day jail sentence and, as the Massena man started to recalculate his position to lean toward being placed under probation supervision, he found it was too late to change the court’s position.
The village justice said he was moving forward with the 15-day jail sentence.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. Jail is not going to go well for you. Probation isn’t going to go well for you. Just take your medicine and be done with it,” Mr. Gustafson said, noting he hoped he wouldn’t see Pelkey back in his courtroom in the future.
Court documents indicated Pelkey walked into Price Chopper, grabbed and started eating berries as he walked through the store, placed an 18-pack of Bud Light in a cart and then simply walked out of the store.
He had been charged with criminal possession of stolen property after he allegedly tried to sell a Straight Talk touch screen cell phone that had reportedly been stolen from Alex Garrow to Christopher Bessy for $40 on July 17. Pelkey had previously told the court he disputed the allegations surrounding the stolen property charge.
In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:
• Cheryl V. Cook, 50, of 18 Park Ave., Apt. G, Massena, was fined $75 and a $125 surcharge after an obstruction of governmental administration charge was reduced to a disorderly conduct violation.
Cook had been one of two people charged after police responded to a domestic dispute complaint on Nov. 24.
Village police had charged Jeremy M. Lawrence, 33, of 18 Park Ave., Apt. G, with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment and resisting arrest. Cook, his girlfriend, was charged with obstruction of governmental administration after jumping on the back of Ptl. Michael J. O’Brien while he was attempting to place Lawrence in handcuffs.
According to her statement to police, trouble began after a night of drinking at the Rusty Wheel.
“Jeremy and I got into a verbal argument at the Rusty Wheel,” Cook said in her statement to police, adding she then walked home.
“About half an hour later, Jeremy came back home. I yelled at Jeremy because he was talking to another woman at the bar,” she said. “Jeremy told me to get out of his place.”
Cook said the incident became violent at that point.
“He then grabbed me by the hair, threw me against the neighbor’s door and threw me down the stairs,” she said.
• Jolene R. Bigtree, 19 County Route 45, Apt. C1, Hogansburg, was granted a six-month adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.
She had been charged with disorderly conduct on Nov. 30 after she reportedly refused to comply with a bartender’s orders to leave the Rusty Wheel.
When police responded to the establishment for assistance at 6:18 p.m. Nov. 30, officers said she was charged after she refused to comply with orders to stop shouting obscenities at the police and bar patrons.
Court documents indicated Bigtree appeared to be highly intoxicated at the time of the incident and was transported to Massena Memorial Hospital for observation after she had been taken into custody.