News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Police & Fire

Cameras Set Stage, Helped Solve Killing

Cameras Set Stage,

Helped Solve Killing

Joshua Underwood is led into Otsego County Court by Deputy Leigh Prostak ahead of a hearing last December. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Otsego County’s first slaying of 2017 – on New Year’s morning – happened in an Oneonta apartment with a surveillance camera in every room.

The cameras helped put suspect Joshua Underwood, 25, in the victim’s room, and help convict the man, said District Attorney John Muehl.

Underwood was convicted Friday, March 30, to 20 years in jail.

“Witnesses said they got into a fight about Joshua Underwood having a girlfriend,” said Muehl. “Morrison went to bed, and on video, we have Underwood checking on Morrison. Shortly after that, the video went out, and that’s about the approximate time Morrison was killed.”

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Underwood Gets 20, Perry Offered 25

UNDERWOOD

GETS 20 YEARS

Perry Offered 25 In Parents’ Slaying

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Joshua Underwood plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will serve 20 years in prison.

ONEONTA – Joshua Underwood, 25, who plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the New Year’s Day death of his boyfriend, Mark Morrison, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Otsego County Court.

Officials say around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 1, 2017, Underwood called 911 and reported that he had killed his boyfriend, 52-year-old Mark Morrison of Oneonta. Police found Morrison dead in his Main Street apartment from what was later ruled to be blunt force trauma to the head. Police also alleged that Underwood tried to conceal the crime by stuffing the apartment doorway with newspapers and setting them on fire.

Though originally scheduled to be sentenced in mid-December, Underwood tried to withdraw his guilty plea for first-degree manslaughter, claiming he was coerced by the public defender’s assistant assigned to the case.

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Missing Otsego Woman Found Dead Near Home

Snow Melts, Missing

Woman’s Body Found

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Margaret Thayer

CATTOWN – The body of a 60-year-old woman missing since March 1 was located behind her home this morning in an area where snow drifts were recently several feet deep, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. reports.

Deputies were at Margaret R. Thayer’s home on Parslow Road in the hamlet of Cattown, near Fly Creek, rechecking areas that have been previously searched by foot and with the help of K9s, Devlin said.

Foul play is not suspected at this time, the investigation is continuing, according to the sheriff.

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Bone Found In Florida May Belong To Missing Laurens Man

Police Suspect Bones In Florida

Belong To Missing Laurens Man

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Michael Shaver

LAURENS – Police believe that human remains found buried underneath a fire pit in the backyard of a Lake County, Florida, home may belong to a Laurens man last seen in 2015.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Michael Shaver, 36, was reported missing in February by a close friend who said that no one had heard from Shaver since October 2015.  All activity in his bank account stopped at that time, too.

When sheriff’s Deputies went to the Shavers’ home on Feb. 16, his wife, Laurie Shaver, 35, also told them she had not seen or heard from him since 2015.  She allowed deputies to search the home, but as they walked with her to the backyard, they noticed a large depression in the back yard and noted that there was a fresh layer of concrete, the newspaper reported.

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Otsego Woman Still Missing After Storm

Otsego Woman Still

Missing After Storm

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Margaret Thayer

OTSEGO – Otsego County sheriff’s deputies are continuing their search for a 60-year-old woman who went missing from her Parslow Road home just before last week’s storms.

Margaret R. Thayer was reported missing March 6 after a friend went over to plow her driveway and saw that she was not home. “Our concern was that she was last seen right before the snowstorm,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. “It’s been snowing consistently since then, which has hindered our ability to search.”

Thayer, a white female with grey hair and hazel eyes, is considered a “vulnerable adult.” According to Devlin, she has medical conditions and mobility issues. She has been known to wander, and deputies have responded to the address before to assist after she locked herself out of her home.

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Man Arrested For Kicking Developmentally Disabled Man

Man Arrested For Kicking

Developmentally Disabled Man

Houston Hollister

MILFORD – An Oneonta man was arrested after an investigation revealed that he allegedly assaulted a resident of a home for developmentally disable adults.

Houston S. Hollister, 33, was arrested after a report that Hollister allegedly pushed and kicked a resident while he was employed at a residential home for people with developmental disabilities in the town of Milford.  The original incident occurred on December 25, 2017.  After an investigation, Hollister was arrested by state police on March 8 in the town of Oneonta.

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Utica College On Lockdown After “Credible Threat”

Utica College On Lockdown

After Two Threatening Calls

UTICA – Utica College students and staff have been advised to stay in place after the police received what they believe to be a “real, credible threat” of violence on campus.

According to CNY News, two calls came into police threatening to take “some sort of action” at the school’s Gordon Science Center, and the school was put on lockdown. A message went out on the school’s social media advising everyone to stay in place, and police have been going to each building to escort everyone to a secure location. No injuries have been reported and police have not reported any shots fired.

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Army Blackhawks In Coop Area Today

Army Blackhawks

In Coop Area Today

Public Invited To Observe Training

This is an example of the four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters conducting exercises in Cooperstown area this afternoon.

COOPERSTOWN – Because of challenges presented by a low cloud cover, the arrival of four Army National Guard UH-60 helicopters at the Bassett Helipad has been moved up to 3:30 p.m. from 5 p.m.

The public will be able to observe the training in the area adjoining the helipad and are asked to park in the Clark Sports Center lots and leave bags and backpacks in their vehicles.

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RIGS STUCK IN BANK, TRAFFIC DETOURED

COOPERSTOWN STREET BLOCKED

RIGS STUCK IN BANK,

TRAFFIC DETOURED

For the past half-hour, traffic have been detoured around the intersection of Railroad and Glen avenues after a Tops tractor-trailer slid into a bank. Officers Kevin Barrows and Jim Kelman are at the scene. A heavy wrecker, sufficient to haul the rig back onto the roadway, is being awaited. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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COOPERSTOWN MAN CHARGED IN $4 M FRAUD

READ SCHNEIDERMAN’S COMPLAINT

COOPERSTOWN

MAN CHARGED

IN $4 M FRAUD

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Lagan

COOPERSTOWN – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought charges today against an Albany area town justice and Cooperstown developer Thomas Lagan for allegedly siphoning $4 million from the family trusts of a Capital Region philanthropist.

“As we allege, the defendants orchestrated a complex scheme to steal millions from trusts they were responsible for protecting,” said Schneiderman. “We have zero tolerance for those who try to game the system and violate the public trust in order to line their own pockets.”

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103