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Ex-convict indicted for alleged Watertown burglary and threat to woman

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An ex-convict has been indicted on allegations that he unlawfully entered a Bronson Street residence and threatened a woman with a knife.

Michael L. Merrifield, 41, no fixed address, is charged with first- and second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal possession of weapon, second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree menacing, bribing a witness and fourth-degree tampering with a witness.

The charges were contained in a grand jury indictment handed up Monday in Jefferson County Court.

It is alleged that on Nov. 13 he entered the residence of April L. and Shawn M. Secor and threatened Mrs. Secor with a knife, swinging it at her and causing her to be fearful of suffering serious injury or death. It further is alleged that on March 19 he gave Mrs. Secor an unspecified benefit with the understanding that she would not appear to testify before a grand jury investigating the matter.

According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, Mr. Merrifield was sentenced in Broome County in August 1990 to a prison term for second-degree robbery, and was released on parole in March 1993. He was convicted again of second-degree robbery in February 1994 in Jefferson County Court, and was sentenced as a second felony offender to up to eight years. With four different parole releases, he was in and out of prison until concluding his maximum term in October 2007. In the meantime, during one of his parole periods, he was convicted of third-degree assault in 2002 in Jefferson County Court.

Other indictments handed up:

Travis L. Peterkin, 43, Watertown, faces single counts of second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree criminal mischief, petit larceny and resisting arrest, as well as three counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of third-degree attempted assault.

It is alleged that on Nov. 9 he broke a window to gain entry into the Watertown residence of Franklyn Cowles and stole more than $3,000 worth of jewelry. It also is alleged that on Dec. 29 he broke into a Barben Avenue residence with the intent to steal something. It further is claimed that on Dec. 30 he struggled with city police Officers Matthew J. Dawley and Charles L. Bickel III, trying to injure Officer Dawley by punching him several times and trying to hit Officer Bickel with a fishing pole. According to the indictment, on Dec. 30 he also allegedly possessed unspecified property stolen separately from Nolan Follett and Chara McClendon.

Mr. Peterkin was sentenced in 2001 to up to seven years in state prison after being convicted in a County Court trial of 16 counts, including two counts each of second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He also served three previous prison sentences, according to the Corrections Department website.

Anthony J. Holmes, 34, Watertown, is charged with first-degree aggravated criminal contempt, first- and second-degree criminal contempt, second-degree menacing and third-degree assault, as well as three aggravated family offenses.

It is alleged that on March 2 he violated a Family Court order of protection held by Pearl A. Hunt by punching her in the head, pushing her to the floor and pulling on her jaw with his hand, causing her to suffer a closed head injury, a cut inside her mouth and bruising. It also is alleged that he placed Ms. Hunt in fear of serious injury or death by displaying a knife while threatening her.

Mr. Holmes was found guilty at County Court trial in 2009 of two counts of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and two counts of felony third-degree intimidating a witness and was sentenced to two to four years in prison.

Mr. Merrifield, Mr. Peterkin and Mr. Holmes are due to be arraigned today in County Court.

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