Two killers, a mayor and a dangler: an unusual day in Westchester courts

It’s going to be an interesting morning in the local judicial system on Tuesday: a county judge will hand down sentences in two high-profile homicide cases, while the ex-White Plains mayor will be in a nearby courtroom to answer probation violation charges, at the same time as the Tappan Zee bridge dangler will appear in Greenburgh Town Court.

First, the sentencings:

Francisco Acevedo (left) will be sentenced in the murders of three women in south Yonkers over a seven-year period starting in 1989. Acevedo had sex with each of them before strangling them, posing their nude bodies to face upward and fleeing the scene. Acevedo was caught after he submitted DNA in a bid to get early release from prison on a drunken driving conviction. Westchester Judge Barbara Zambelli, who has a reputation for tough sentences, may give him three consecutive prison terms of 25 to life, for a total of 75 to life.

Whatever the sentence, I expect it will be an emotional closure for the families of the women and for John T. Geiss, the dogged Yonkers detective who pursued the cold case for years.

Zambelli also will be sentencing ex-Eastchester police officer James Pileggi (right), who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter for the unintentional (but criminally reckless) shooting of his friend, Andre Everett. This is a sentencing with wide options: Pileggi could get as little as probation or as much as 15 years in state prison; it’s completely Zambelli’s call. She could rule down the middle: 4 to 7 years or perhaps 7 to 10. Pileggi’s family vowed to launch a massive letter-writing campaign begging the judge for leniency. The question is, did Everett’s family do the same, urging Zambelli to go the other way?

Down the hall from Zambelli’s court, ex-Mayor Adam Bradley (left) will appear before acting state Supreme Court Justice Susan Cacace on charges that he violated a stay-away order by calling his estranged wife, Fumiko, late last year. Bradley swears he repeatedly “pocket dialed” her by accident. Bradley had to post $10,000 bail for his smartphone snafu. We’ll see what, if anything, happens in the latest twist of this ongoing domestic violence case.

 

Finally, disgruntled Rockland County resident Michael Davitt (right) will be in Greenburgh Town Court on charges related to his November publicity stunt in which he dangled mid-span from the Tappan Zee Bridge. Davitt, an ex-county employee, is facing several misdemeanors and violations. He worked for the county for more than 27 years before being was suspended in 2008, and then became a fixture at county Legislature meetings, claiming corruption in government. No word on if or when a plea deal is coming., but I’d be surprised if this case goes to trial. My guess is that he’ll plead guilty to one or more of the charges and get a conditional discharge, with a fine, of course.

Convicted mayor called for jury duty

Put this one in the “irony” file.

White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley, who declined to be tried by jury on domestic violence charges and was convicted instead at a bench trial, was called for jury duty today on the third floor of the Westchester County Courthouse.

Bradley should be well acquainted with the courthouse by now. He has made numerous appearances there since his arrest a year ago. It was where, after a lengthy trial, he was found guilty of attempted assault and criminal contempt of court, both misdemeanors, and three counts of harassment, a violation. It’s also the same building where his divorce proceedings are being held.

Today, Bradley was among more than two dozen other members of the public who were called for the murder retrial of Selwyn Days, a former Mount Vernon man accused of killing Eastchester millionaire Archie Harris and his home health worker Betty Ramcharan in 1996. The trial is expected to last 4 to 6 weeks.

I’m guessing that Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit, who will preside over the Days trial, isn’t going to let him be on the jury.

A lighter moment in mayor’s domestic violence trial

At every trial, no matter how grave the allegations, there are moments of levity. It was no different today during the domestic violence trial of White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley (left) in Westchester County Court.

When one witness — a friend and neighbor of the Bradleys — was asked if she could identify the  mayor in the courtroom, she described a man wearing “a dark suit, red tie and light blue shirt.”

One problem — Bradley’s lawyer, Luis Andrew Penichet, was wearing the exact same ensemble.

When Judge Susan Capeci pointed this out, the courtroom filled with laughter and Penichet threw up his arms and said he would stipulate that the witness was describing his client.

The rest of the trial was serious, as Penichet defended the mayor against six misdemeanor charges and three violations that include assault, witness tampering and harassment. Two White Plains police officers and the Bradley’s neighbor took the stand, but their testimony took a back seat to that of Fumiko Bradley, the mayor’s wife, who brought the original charges against her husband in February.

To read more about the trial’s first day, click here.

White Plains’ mayor due in court for domestic violence case

UPDATE: Mayor opts for bench trial in November. Click here to read more.

A week after White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley and his wife Fumiko filed separate divorce papers, the mayor will be back in court tomorrow as his criminal domestic violence case moves forward.

His lawyers and prosecutors will have a pre-trial conference Thursday morning with Westchester County Judge Susan Capeci, who also is handling the divorce proceedings as part of the county’s integrated domestic violence court.

In signed statements and e-mails to her neighbor, Fumiko Bradley, the mayor’s wife of eight years, outlined a pattern of abuse by her husband, with escalating verbal and physical confrontations over the years, especially during his mayoral run last fall.

She accused him of slamming her fingers in a doorway, throwing hot tea on her, squeezing her arms so hard they bruised and pushing her down a flight of stairs. She also said Bradley pressured her to drop the case or take the blame for the accusations, including pressing her to go to a mental institution and say she was crazy.

The mayor has declined to comment on the allegations, saying he will address them only in court.

Bradley, whose wife has a protective order against him, faces nine misdemeanor and violation charges that include assault, witness tampering and harassment. He is also facing an ethics probe in the city, stemming from his relationship with his new landlord.

The mayor, who divorced his first wife in 1994, has two young daughters with Fumiko Bradley. The couple no longer live together.

More support for DiFiore

Looks like more high-profile Democrats are speaking in support of keeping Janet DiFiore as Westchester County’s District Attorney:

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined other Westchester Assembly Democrats at the county’s Democratic Committee headquarters to endorse DiFiore’s re-election bid today in White Plains.

“Janet DiFiore is a tough and intelligent prosecutor who is taking the lead on the issues that matter to the residents of Westchester County – from Child Advocacy to Youth Courts, drug treatment for the addicted, to prisoner re-entry, training and education for law enforcers, to community outreach,” Silver said. “She is a great D.A., and a talented legal mind. And I am proud to endorse her re-election.”

Assembly members Amy Paulin of Scarsdale, Adam Bradley of White Plains, Mike Spano of Yonkers and Sandra Galef of Ossining also praised DiFiore’s work as D.A. over the past 4 years.

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Tony Castro is planning a press conference at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow to “make an announcement about his candidacy” for District Attorney in front of the Board of Elections. I called Castro’s campaign HQ to find out what this is about. I got the machine. And no call back.