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Troopers: Mom jailed after threatening witness in son’s weapons case


CANTON — Deborah E. Whitehill watched her son led away in chains Thursday morning following his arraignment on a weapons charge.

Within hours, she followed his lead.

Mrs. Whitehill, 58, was arrested by state police for allegedly sending threatening text messages to a witness in the case against Patrick F. Whitehill, 23. Both live at 349 Moran Road, Lisbon.

Mr. Whitehill was arrested on March 1 following an alleged domestic dispute and charged with second-degree harassment, fourth-degree criminal possession of a firearm, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a convicted felon and driving on a suspended registration. The details of Mr. Whitehill’s previous conviction could not be immediately verified on Friday.

When Mr. Whitehill appeared before St. Lawrence County Judge Kathleen M. Rogers Thursday morning, the judge and sheriff’s deputies had to ask Mrs. Whitehill several times to stop interrupting from the gallery as her son was arraigned, as she pleaded loudly for the judge to allow her son to remain free on bail pending further proceedings.

The exasperated judge returned Mr. Whitehill to the St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, without bail.

Troopers said Mrs. Whitehill then sent a threatening text message to the witness, whose name they did not release. According to state police records, the incident was reported at 10:19 a.m., and Mrs. Whitehill was arrested at 11 a.m. at her home.

Thursday’s message was the second Mrs. Whitehill allegedly sent to the witness this week. According to arrest records filed in Lisbon Town Court, she also texted the woman on Tuesday afternoon to say “Pat is in jail” and that the woman and her son “will be sorry.”

The witness “interpreted this text message as a threat of bodily harm by the defendant toward her and her son,” troopers wrote. The details of her alleged second message were not released.

Mrs. Whitehill was charged with third-degree tampering with a witness, a class E felony, and second-degree aggravated harassment, a class A misdemeanor. She was arraigned before Potsdam Town Justice James A. Mason and committed to the Canton lockup in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. She is due to appear in Lisbon Town Court on Tuesday to answer the charges.

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