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Mon., Aug. 31
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Massena man sentenced to state prison


CANTON - A Massena man charged with stealing items from local garages while he was working as an independent contractor delivering newspapers in the early morning hours has been sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison for a third-degree burglary conviction.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards also ordered Jeffrey A. Chapman II, 118 Maple St., Massena to pay $60 in restitution, which was reduced to judgment.

Mr. Chapman had pleaded guilty to the burglary charge Aug. 30. He faced a mandatory state prison sentence as a second felony offender. In 2003, he was convicted of third-degree attempted burglary.

Mr. Chapman said he was sorry for his actions and realizes he has a substance abuse problem.

“I’d like to say I’m sorry to the court and to my victims. I admit I made mistakes,” the father of two said.

Village police had charged Mr. Chapman with three counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of petit larceny and fourth-degree grand larceny July 23 following an investigation into a series of incidents throughout the village in June and July, including in an area near Massena Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Chapman was an independent contractor who had delivered the Watertown Daily Times and Courier-Observer newspapers in the early morning hours for the past several months. He was charged with stealing a large trash bag full of cans and a bag of power tools including a skill saw, a power drill and an 18-volt battery from a garage at 6:15 a.m. July 18 at 12 West Ave., a generator valued at $600 and a bag of cans on July 17 from 4 Judith St., and a Taylor golf bag filled with clubs valued at $1,300 from 4 Erwin Ave. on July 16.

Mr. Chapman, in a statement he made to police, said he exchanged the generator for one gram of cocaine.

He also admitted his role in the theft of tools and cans from 12 West Ave.

Police said they had received a number of burglary and larceny complaints in July, and the case took a step forward when witnesses were able to provide police with a description of a man seen exiting a West Avenue garage on July 18 as well as license plate information on the vehicle he was operating.

In other recent court action before Judge Richards:

A 24-year-old Ogdensburg man who violated a no-contact order of protection for a Heuvelton woman will spend the next 1 1/2 to 3 years in state prison.

Stephen A. Wing Jr., 809 Main St., pleaded guilty Aug. 30 in county court to felony first-degree criminal contempt of court.

He admitted that he had contact with Katie L. Livingston, Bishop Road, Heuvelton.

The two were arrested Aug. 14 after their vehicle was stopped by state police on Route 37. Ms. Livingston, who was driving, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated.

County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards said Wednesday he was required to sentence Mr. Wing, a second felony offender, to state prison. He had previously been convicted of first-degree criminal contempt.

“I don’t think you’re a bad person,” the judge said. “The reason you have to go to state prison is that things have spun out of your control and spun out of my control.”

The judge also barred Mr. Wing from having any contact with Ms. Livingston unless he successfully completes two prison programs related to domestic violence, such as non-violence or parenting classes.

Thomas S. Merrifield, 49, of 125 Old State Road, DeKalb Junction, was sentenced to 15 to 45 months in state prison for felony failing to register as a sex offender.

He was also ordered to pay $375 in surcharges and fines.

Kurt M. Bjork, 24, of 580 County Route 28, Apt. 2, Ogdensburg, pleaded guilty to forging a check, damaging a door at Walmart and stealing four cases of beer. Mr. Bjork pleaded to two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, third-degree forgery and petit larceny, all misdemeanors.

He admitted attempting to cash a $23.15 forged check Oct. 12, 2011, in Lisbon and stealing four 30-pack cases of Bud Light beer from Nice N Easy convenient store on Sept. 20, 2011.

He also admitted causing $2,761.78 worth of damage to the electronic door at Walmart by pushing his way through it while fleeing a police officer. The plea also satisfies a fifth-degree possession of stolen property charge pending in the city of Ogdensburg.

Mr. Bjork was placed on a curfew that requires him to be home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. He is not allowed to be anywhere alcohol is served and was released under probation supervision. As part of his plea bargain, he is expected to be placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution when he returns for sentencing Feb. 4.

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