No verdict in Quinoy case

Jose Quinoy

Jurors sent out four notes in four hours of deliberation today in the Jose Quinoy case, but none of them said “verdict.”

The jury of nine women and three men will be back at it tomorrow morning at 9:30 in the Brieant Federal Courthouse to consider the fate of Quinoy, the 37-year-old veteran Sleepy Hollow police detective accused of abusing two men in separate incidents in the village in late 2006. He’s charged with kicking and punching Mario Gomez, then 49, on Oct. 17, 2006, after Gomez was already handcuffed and under the control of other cops. He’s charged with using a stun gun on Luis Vilches on Dec. 17, 2006, after Vilches was already handcuffed and complying with police. Prosecutors charge that Quinoy violated the men’s civil rights in the incidents.

Both incidents stemmed from personal disputes Quinoy had with the men, federal prosecutors said. In the  Gomez incident, Quinoy and Gomez got into a fight over rumors that the married Quinoy was carrying on a relationship with Gomez’s 22-year-old daughter, Haydee, and bragging about it in the police locker room. In the Vilches incident, Quinoy and Vilches had allegedly traded vile sexual threats about each other’s families in June 2006. In December, Vilches came looking for Quinoy with a tree saw, saying he was gooing to cut him into pieces for Quinoy’s threat to sodomize Vilches’ daughter while Vilches was in jail. Quinoy, who was not on duty, joined other officers in the search for Vilches and they found him in a village parking lot. Quinoy allegedly applied a Taser to Vilches while he and Sgt. Paul Hood were walking the cuffed Vilches to a police vehicle. Quinoy says he only threatened to use the stun gun in order to stop Vilches from spitting at him.

Quinoy is also accused of tampering with a witness in the case, Officer Michael Hayes, who wore a wire at the behest of the FBI and secretly recorded Quinoy and other officers.

Jurors asked for testimony from five witnesses — including Quinoy and Hayes — regarding what happened between the time Gomez was handcuffed and he was driven away in a police car. They also asked for the testimony of Vilches and Hood.

Regarding the voluminous request, Judge Kenneth Karas quipped, “I’m inclined to send them back a note asking what they don’t want.”

Illegal immigrant acquitted in stabbing death of Yonkers teen

A Westchester County jury today acquitted a 25-year-old illegal immigrant in the stabbing death of a Yonkers teen during an early-morning street fight last year.

Arcadio Rivera of 431 Van Cortlandt Park Ave., who police said is a member of the Elliott Mexican street gang in the southwest section of Yonkers, was found not guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the Feb. 1, 2009 slaying of Gabriel Robles-Ramos, 19.

Rivera’s defense lawyer argued that his client was misidentified and was not at the scene.

Police said Robles-Ramos, of 27 Ludlow St., and his two friends were walking near Elm Street and St. Casimir Avenue when they were approached by Rivera and his two friends. After someone in the victim’s group struck a member of Rivera’s group with a bottle, weapons were drawn and the bloody fight started.

Robles-Ramos was stabbed twice in the right leg and bled to death. Police said both sides may have just left bars.

The victim’s father, Ramon Robles, called Rivera “a butcher” today. He accused witnesses of lying at trial to cover Rivera and blasted Yonkers police and the District Attorney’s office for botching the case.

“It was a mess — the detective work, everything,” he said.

Robles, who lives in Puerto Rico, said his son was to leave the U.S. to live with him three days after he was killed. The father is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War who uses a wheelchair.

Rivera has been held in the Westchester County jail without bail since his arrest on Feb. 4. Federal immigration officials have placed a hold on him, meaning he faces deportation. Police said Rivera is Mexican; Robles said he is Salvadorian.

Robles-Ramos worked at the White Castle restaurant on South Broadway. He was a triplet. He has three brothers and two sisters. One triplet, his sister, has cerebral palsy.

Photo: Arcadio Rivera

Yonkers man pleads guilty to attacking ‘racist’ dog

A man accused of slashing a so-called “racist dog” and causing the dog to lose an eye pleaded guilty to animal cruelty today in Westchester County Court.

Andrew Owens, a 58-year-old Yonkers resident, used a 9-inch knife to attack his neighbor’s companion animal, a 4-year-old German shepherd named Jenna, who was leashed outside her home at 705-707 Nepperhan Ave.

The knife left a deep gash in Jenna’s face, and her right eye had to be removed.

The SPCA of Westchester County, which investigated the case, said the slashing was unprovoked. An SPCA detective said Ownes “egged on” the barking dog and charged at her.

Owens, a handyman at Valley Oil on Nepperhan Avenue, pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, in Westchester County Court.

He agreed to serve 15 months in jail as part of the plea. according to the  DA’s office. Sentencing was set for Sept. 2.

Owens claimed that Jenna bit him a year earlier and told authorities he cut the animal in retaliation. The day after Jenna was slashed, her owner, Paul Tocco, told The Journal News that Jenna had it in for Owens — and other minorities, for that matter.

“The dog reacts to black people, Hispanics, anyone who is not white,” Tocco said. “She always barked at him (Owens). He was well aware the dog didn’t like him, and he knew to stay away from her.”

After Tocco’s comments were published, he was bombarded by interview requests and calls from friends and customers. In the face of criticism, he backed off his initial statements, saying now that the dog does not dislike minorities.

Others who know and love Jenna came to her defense, saying she’s no racist and, in fact, has many black and Hispanic friends.

LT’s Court Appearance Draws Crowd

During his grid-irons days Lawrence Taylor usually drew a crowd when rushing the quarterback as a linebacker. Offensive linemen and running backs looked to double or triple team this fierce pass rusher, hoping to protect their quarterback.
Today, Taylor continued to draw crowds.
But this time it’s the media with television cameras and still cameras surrounding him and questioning him as he faces charges of paying $300 to have sex at a Ramapo hotel with a girl who turned out to be a 16-year-old runaway from the Bronx.
More than 70 people packed the courtroom to hear Taylor’s lawyer plead him not guilty. Taylor didn’t say much before Judge William Nelson. Taylor is charged with third-degree rape and other charges.
He’s due back in court on Aug. 24 — and more crowds are expected.
Read more at Taylor Pleads Not Guilty.

Upper Right: Lawrence Taylor leaves Rockland Courthouse with his wife

Batista convicted of sexually abusing Port Chester girl, 4

A jury has convicted 23-year-old Wilmer Batista of sexually abusing a 4-year-old Port Chester girl when the child’s father left him alone with her in 2007.

The girl, now, 7, testified against Batista at trial. Assistant District Attorney Christine Hatfield said the girl never once changed her story about Batista, a Rye Brook resident who was a friend of the girl’s family.

The girl’s father had asked Batista to watch the girl and her baby sister while he went on an errand on Dec. 16, 2007. The girl called her father a short time later and said Batista had abused her. The father gathered other male relatives and confronted Batista outside, prompting a neighbor to call police.

Batista’s attorney, Angelo McDonald, had suggested that the girl misunderstood Batista’s actions — Batista claimed he cleaned her after she soiled herself and blew on her belly to make her laugh — and that her testimony had been rehearsed.

He was convicted of first-degree criminal sex act and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, all felonies. He also was found guilty of child endangerment, a misdemeanor.

Batista’s original indictment was dismissed last year because the grand jury was found to have been given inaccurate instructions. A second grand jury indicted him in January.

He is being held in the Westchester County jail in Valhalla without bail.

Read more about this story tomorrow in The Journal News and on LoHud.com.

Valley Cottage Man Accused Of Attempted Rape Getting New Lawyer

A Valley Cottage man accused of burglary, attempted robbery and attempted rape will be getting a new lawyer, further delaying the case from 2008.
The Public Defender’s Office today asked to be relieved as defense attorney for Donovan Mais because office represents a potential prosecution witness, leading to a conflict of interest. County Court Judge William Nelson adjourned the case until Thursday to allow for a new lawyer, most likely a private attorney paid by the under 18b plan for people who cannot afford a lawyer.
Mais, 26, was arrested ion Sept. 11, 2008, by Clarkstown police shortly after a woman reported that a man entered her bedroom and tried to pulled away her blankets. She told police he demanded money and told her to take off her clothes. She told the police the man fled with a bar of soap when she screamed.
A Rockland grand jury indicted Mais on charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree attempted rape and third-degree attempted robbery.
The prosecution got delayed when acting state Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bartlett ruled in March 2009 that Clarkstown police initially stopped Mais based on his race and he was not wearing the clothing described by the victim.
Bartlett also ruled a jury could not hear about the woman’s street identification of Mais, his incriminating statements and other comments to police after hours in custody, and articles of clothes found in his house.
“Police grabbed the first black male they encountered on the public street …,” Bartlett wrote. “The detention of the defendant just because he was a young black male is impermissible and not lawful.”
The Rockland District Attorney’s Office appealed Bartlett’s decision — which stripped the prosecution of its most vital evidence in the case.
In April, the state Appellate Division found Bartlett was wrong on the law. The panel found the police properly conducted the arrest and procedure, and thus the victim’s identification was admissible at a trial. The panel also ruled Mais’ statements to police during questioning could also be used against him at a trial.
His original story to police was that on Sept. 10, he was at a bar, met friends and got lost walking home. He later told police that another person he met and had beers with broke into the house and that he ran after hearing a woman scream. He told the officer he then tried avoiding the police and got lost walking home.
Police used a tracking dog to sniff the window sill, saying the dog then followed the scent and jumped on Mais, according to the decision.
Mais then told police that when he heard the scream, he stepped on the sill, stuck his head through the window and yelled for his friend to come outside, according to the decision.

Power failure closes Mount Vernon city courts

From Journal News reporter Ernie Garcia:

MOUNT VERNON — A power failure has closed the Mount Vernon City Court for the day.

The power failure this morning prevented the Ronald Blackwood Courthouse from opening.

Con Edison crews are at the scene, according to Mount Vernon Press Secretary Hank Miller.

Miller said a failed service line leading into the building caused the blackout.

Normal court business was canceled for the day, but people with parking tickets can still pay them on the first floor at the police headquarters Support Services Window.

Miller said the courthouse is expected to reopen on Tuesday.

Larchmont couple face grand larceny charges

A Larchmont couple who own three businesses, including a baby clothing store, are facing grand larceny and tax charges from the Westchester County District Attorney’s office.

Denise and Christopher MacDonald, who live on Jochum Avenue, were arraigned today on charges of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of repeated failure to file personal tax returns. Denise MacDonald also was arraigned with one count of third-degree grand Larceny and repeated failure to file corporate tax returns.

All of the charges are felonies and followed 12-month investigation by the District Attorney’s office and state Department of Taxation and Finance.

Christopher MacDonald 53, and Denise MacDonald, 47, owned C.W.M. Horticultural Services, a landscaping company in Larchmont; Twinkle Toes Baby, a baby clothing store with locations in Rye and Larchmont; and Wish Home Styles, a home furnishings store with a sales location in Rye.

Prosecutors say the couple owes more than $500,000 in unpaid state sales tax and unpaid personal income tax. They are accused of keeping sales tax from 1998 to 2009 and not filing an income tax form since 2004.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Chartier said, “They are very decent people. They are well respected in the community and have a lot of strong support.”

C.W.M. Horticultural Services and Twinkle Toes Baby were charged as businesses with one count of second-degree grand larceny. The baby clothing store faces an additional a tax charge. Wish Home Styles was charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny.

Bail was set at $10,000 cash for Denise MacDonald and $5,000 cash for Christopher MacDonald. They face up to fifteen years in state prison on the top grand larceny charge.

Dobbs Ferry man pleads guilty to underage sex attempt online

A Dobbs Ferry man admitted in court today that he tried to solicit sex from someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl but who was actually an undercover investigator.
David Bagley, 25, pleaded guilty in Westchester County Court to attempted dissemination of indecent materials to a minor, possession of a sexual performance by a child and promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, all felonies.
Prosecutors accused Bagley of attempting to solicit sex from the “girl” during online chats  from November 12 to 23. Bagley also was accused of having sexual images of children on a computer file called “childlover_little” and of sharing child sex performances over the Internet. He was arrested Dec. 15.
Bagley agreed to serve consecutive one-year sentences at the Westchester County jail in Valhalla, for a total of two years behind bars. Westchester Judge Susan Cacace set a sentencing date for Sept. 7. Bagley, who had been free on $10,000 bail, was taken into custody after the plea.
He had faced up to seven years in state prison on the top charge of a 50-count indictment.
His guilty plea today covered a pending misdemeanor case in Dobbs Ferry, where he was charged with with unlawfully dealing with a child for allegedly buying alcohol for minors.
Photo of David Bagley, courtesy of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office

Extradicted Guatemalan sentenced for sexually abusing girl

Cesar Joel Sagastume Morales, who was extradited from Guatemala last year, was sentenced to serve 8 years in prison for sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in a case that caused controversy in the Bedford school district.

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