Former Dobbs Ferry mayor, county judge dies at 80

Rolon William Reed, a former Westchester County judge who was mayor of Dobbs Ferry from 1979 to 1984, died Sunday near his Florida home from pneumonia and related complications, according to a family obituary. He was 80.

Reed, who was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Yale Law School, moved to Dobbs Ferry in 1963, eight years after joining the Manhattan law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He ran for village trustee  in 1974 as a Democrat in what was then a traditionally Republican village. Elected mayor in 1979, his efforts helped to transform Willow Point from a semi-industrial eyesore into a public park.

Reed, who retired as his firm’s partner in 1984, served as mayor until former Gov. Mario Cuomo appointed him to a judgeship that year. He left the bench in 1989 when he and his wife, Diana, moved to the Lake Jem area, outside Mount Dora, Fla.

When he moved to Florida, he once again got involved in local politics, becoming an interim county attorney. He also was public advocate battling overzealous real estate developers, helping local leaders to develop plans that guided growth to cities and kept urban sprawl out of rural areas.

Reed left his last public position to become a “retired country gentleman” at Sweetwater Farm with his dog, cattle, gardens and fishing pond.

Reed is survived by his wife, his three children from his first marriage, Rolon A. Reed, III, Hilary Yeo and Jennifer Simon, and four grandchildren, Jordan Yeo, Samuel Reed, Molly Yeo and Ella Simon, as well as his sister, Marilyn Reed Mellor.

Family members and colleagues described Reed as a charismatic contrarian, who was never afraid to fight for a position others opposed or did not understand.

Photo: Rolon Reed in 1988.

DiGuglielmo conviction upheld in ’96 deli shooting

Former New York City Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo (left) lost any chance of getting out of prison before 2019 today. That’s because the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, rejected his bid to have his conviction overturned.

In a tersely worded two-page statement, the court found there was “no reasonable possibility” that DiGuglielmo would have been found not guilty had a jury been told that a witness felt he had been coerced to change his initial account that DiGgugliemo was justified in shooting Charles Campbell.

“We are pleased that our State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, found no merit to Mr. DiGuglielmo’s appeal and unanimously affirmed what has been our position all along, that Mr. DiGuglielmo’s murder conviction was properly obtained and the County Court was wrong in vacating the conviction,” Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a written statement today. “The jury in the case soundly rejected the defendant’s claim of justification after hearing eyewitness testimony from twelve people during his trial that the victim Charles Campbell was backing away when he was shot three times by Mr. DiGuglielmo. With today’s order, the Court of Appeals has rejected all claims against that the conviction.”

The Campbell family will be releasing a statement later today.

DiGuglielmo, who was convicted of second-degree murder, will be eligible for parole in eight years. He was released briefly in September 2008 after a former Westchester County court judge threw out his conviction, but was sent back to prison a year ago after an appeals court reinstated it.

20 years for Dobbs Ferry carjacker

A New York City man who carjacked an elderly man in Dobbs Ferry on New Years’ Day will serve 20 years in state prison for the crime.

The carjacker, 29-year-old Fatmir Dajbabic, (left) was on parole for a 2002 robbery conviction when he committed the carjacking and other robberies in December 2009,  according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office.

He is already is serving a 12- to 15-year sentence for robbery in New York City. The new sentence, handed down last week by Westchester County Judge Susan Cacace, will effectively add five years onto his prison term.

Dajbabic, 29, had pleaded guilty to  first-degree robbery for the Jan. 1 carjacking near a Getty service station at 420 Broadway.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Dajbabic got into a car driven by a 73-year-old man, held a gun to the man’s right temple, ordered him to stop on Transvall Avenue and get into the back seat.

The man stopped the car but escaped. Dajbabic chased him down and put his hand over the man’s mouth to stop him from yelling. When the victim fell, Dajbabic hit hit him on the back of the head, ran back to the car and drove off.

The victim called police from a nearby house.

Before stealing the man’s car, prosecutors said, Dajbabic had approached a 26-year-old pregnant woman at the gas station and asked for directions. When he showed her a gun tucked in his waistband, the woman began yelling that she could not help him. Dajbabic walked away and the woman immediately called police.

Dajbabic was arrested in Brooklyn later that day in connection with several unrelated robberies. According to the Westchester District Attorney’s office, Dajbabic admitted to New York City police detectives that he carjacked a man in Dobbs Ferry that day.

Dajbabic has a pending armed robbery case and is facing other felony charges in the Bronx.

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

DiGuglielmo family speaks out about reinstated sentence

The family of Richard DiGuglielmo (pictured), who was sent back to prison today after his conviction for shooting Charles Campbell to death, once overturned, was reinstated last week, issued a written statement following his incarceration:

“Richard DiGuglielmo served 11 years in prison until a judge, after a lengthy hearing and careful consideration, freed him. That decision cited new evidence that eyewitnesses who supported Richie’s version of events were essentially coerced into changing their statements at the original trial.”

“The death of Charles Campbell was a tragedy and there are no winners in this case. While we cant turn back events from that day in 1996, the courts should not compound this tragedy by ignoring all the evidence that shows Richie acted to defend his father’s life.”

We simply do not see how the court can say that the testimony of witnesses supporting Richie’s actions would not haver raised reasonable doubtt among the jurors, had that testimony not been manipulated by the police.”

“We are all devastated by the appellate court’s decision to send Richard back to prison. What measure of justice does it serve to free him and then send him back to prison after 18 months during which time he led an exemplary life with his family and friends? This is a cruel injusice for Richard and his family.”

“We are hopeful that the New York State Court of Appeals will recognize its responsibility to review this very poorly reasoned decision.”

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Police chiefs endorse DiFiore

This morning, police chiefs throughout Westchester publicly backed Janet DiFiore’s bid for a second term at District Attorney. The announcement was made at Half Moon Bay restaurant in Dobbs Ferry.

Here’s the official statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In a unanimous vote, the Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association, for only the second time in its history, has endorsed a candidate for elected office; the Association has endorsed District Attorney Janet DiFiore for re-election as Westchester County District Attorney.

The first time the Association endorsed a candidate for elected office was four years ago, when it endorsed then-Judge Janet DiFiore for District Attorney.

The Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association is comprised of law enforcement executives: commissioners and chiefs of police from forty-four local and state police agencies in Westchester County.

District Attorney DiFiore received this year’s endorsement in recognition of “[her] nuts and bolts understanding of police operations and the unique aspects of prosecuting crimes in Westchester County”, said Association President Chief Joseph Benefico of the Pelham Police Department. “Your accomplishments in the first term of office validate our previous endorsement and warrant this one. Not only have you created many worthy crime solving and crime prevention programs, you have unfailingly displayed a fair, resolute and thorough approach to criminal prosecution.”

“Over the past three and a half years as District Attorney, I have worked very hard to enhance public safety by working closely with community and law enforcement partners, ensuring fairness and integrity in criminal prosecutions. improving crime fighting intelligence, and educating the public on crime prevention. These proactive strategies define the role of a modern prosecutor,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after accepting the Association’s endorsement. “To be recognized and acknowledged for this work by the professionals you work with every day is an honor and an affirmation of all that we have worked to accomplish.”