News of Otsego County

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


Police & Fire

Lagan Sentenced To 6½-Year Term In Federal Prison

Lagan Sentenced

To 6½-Year Term

In Federal Prison

Tom Lagan

COOPERSTOWN – Thomas Lagan, one of the investors in a 2015 effort to build a downtown hotel here,  was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison this morning for allegations arising from the disposal of an estate after the deaths of philanthropists Warren and Pauline Bruggeman, RPI benefactors, the Times Union is reporting.

In all, the Bruggeman and other estates involved the misallocation of $12 million, the newspaper reported.

Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence Khan also ordered Lagan, 61, whose residence is Cooperstown, to pay more than $7.7 million in restitution to the victims, including beneficiaries of his former clients, churches and charities.

Lagan’s former business partner and co-conspirator, ex-Guilderland Town Justice Richard Sherwood, who also pleaded guilty in the case, is yet to be sentenced. Sherwood owes more than $5.5 million in restitution.


Police, Fire Rescue Woman From Mill Race Waters

Police, Fire Rescue Woman

From Frigid Mill Race Waters

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Oneonta police officers and firefighters rushed to the spillway between the Oneonta Creek and Neahwa Park last evening to rescue a woman who had gone into the water in an alleged suicide attempt, OPD Lt. Christopher Witzenburg reports.

The woman, 34, was reported missing by family members who told police she had threatened self-harm. She allegedly told her family that she was under a bridge by some water, and Officer Kristen Lapointe spotted her behind the Post Office, headed south towards the railroad tracks.

When Lapointe attempted to make contact with her, the woman went into the creek at the Neahwa Park spillway.

DA: Mother Fell Asleep, Smothered Twins

DA: Mom Fell Asleep,

Smothered Twin Babies

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Kimberly Steeley

COOPERSTOWN – Kimberly Steeley, the woman accused of smothering her twins Bonde and Liam in 2018, did so by falling asleep while in bed with the children, District Attorney John Muehl told Judge John Lambert during a suppression hearing in Otsego County Court on Monday.

“She told police she nodded off in bed with them,” he said. “She was reckless, and there is evidence that she was abusing prescription medication to the point of intoxication while she was caring for them.”

Muehl also asked that Steeley’s three DUI convictions, including one in the Town of Maryland in January 2018, five months before the twins’ deaths, should be used as evidence to her recklessness in her upcoming trial.

5 Trucks Deemed Unfit For Roads During Sheriff’s Safety Inspection

5 Trucks Unfit For Roads,

Sheriff’s Inspection Fines

Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement safety check inspection on Friday, Dec. 5 in Exeter.

EXETER – Five of 12 trucks inspected during a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement safety check inspection were deemed unfit for the road and taken out of service, the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department reported on their Facebook page.

On Thursday, Dec. 5, Deputy Sheriff Grimes along with Deputy Sheriff Thornhill partnered with the NYS Department of Transportation in the Town of Exeter to conduct a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement safety check inspection.

3 Hospitalized During SantaCon

3 Hospitalized

During SantaCon

ONEONTA – Three students were hospitalized for over-consumption of alcohol during the annual SantaCon on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“Two of them were sent to the ICU to be intubated, both with a blood alcohol content level over .5 percent,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “.4 is usually fatal.”

The first, a 21-year-old male SUNY student, was transported to Bassett Hospital by police after he was found unconscious on the lawn of a house on Grove Street at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Soto Given Bail, Ankle Bracelet

Four Arraigned On Worcester Man’s Murder

At Arraignment, 17-Year-Old

Granted Bail, Ankle Bracelet

Attorney Dennis Laughlin speaks with his client Anais Soto, 15, during her arraignment in October. (Libby Cudmore/

COOPERSTOWN – Anias Soto, 17, one of the four people indicted in the October murder of Kenneth Robinson, was granted a reduction in her bail, under the conditions that she wear an ankle monitor, during an arraignment this afternoon, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

Soto was believed to be outside the home when the murder occurred. Her bail was reduced to $2,500.

Former Caregiver Pleads Guilty To Stealing $32K From Elderly Clients

Former Home Caregiver

Pleads Guilty To Stealing

$32K From Elderly Clients

Stephanie Shulgay

COOPERSTOWN – Stephanie Shulgay, who was charged with stealing more than $32,000 from the elderly couple who employed her as a home health aide, has plead guilty to Grand Larceny, fourth degree, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

“You can’t take advantage of people like that,” he said.

Over 15 months, Shulgay stole money from the couple by using their credit and debit cards between July 2017 and October 2018, while she was in their employ. According to Muehl, she said it was because she had a gambling addiction, but he noted that she had also used the money for travel and expensive meals.

16-Year-Old Boy Reported Missing From Bloomville

May Be In Norwich Area

16-Year-Old Boy Reported

Missing From Bloomville

Aidan Demorier

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police and State Police are asking for tips in finding Aidan Demorier, 16, who was reported missing from Bloomville on Nov. 19.

Demorier is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and blonde hair. He was last seen wearing black sweatpants with a white stripe down the sides and a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt. He was last seen in the Norwich area.

Fire Damages Back Porch, Kitchen Of Oneonta Home

Four Fire Companies Save House

Fire Damages Back Porch,

Kitchen Of Oneonta Home

Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick Pidgeon was called to to the scene of a house fire on Winney Hill Road. Though the fire damaged the back porch and kitchen, the house itself was spared. (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – A fire at a home on Winney Hill Road in Oneonta started on the back porch and spread into the kitchen, but fire companies were able to put it out before it consumed the whole house, Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick Pidgeon reported.

According to Pidgeon, the fire at the house on 290 Winney Hill Road, a neighbor called in the fire, which started on the back porch at 5:16 p.m. Oneonta, West Oneonta, Franklin and Franklin FAST were on the scene, with Otego and Laurens Fire and EMS squads on  standby and for coverage, and fire fighters quickly knocked the fire down.




Gillian Gibbons’ killer, David Dart, has once again been denied parole in her murder.

ONEONTA – David Dart, the man convicted of killing Gillian Gibbons in the Oneonta Municipal Parking Lot in 1989, has been denied parole, according to Gillian’s sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who posted the news on The “Justice For Gillian” Facebook page just moments ago.

At a “Justice for Gillian” rally in September, Kirkpatrick rallied friends, community members and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, to write letters to the parole board urging them to deny him parole.

In a press release, Seward said he and Jill’s family “prayed for this outcome.  A cold-blooded killer, who has shown no remorse, needs to stay in prison, and I am pleased that the parole board agreed.”




With 53 violations, including serving underage and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

A list of all 53 violations was taped to the bar’s door by SLA enforcement officers early this afternoon.

ONEONTA – With 53 violations, including selling alcohol to minors, employing unlicensed bouncers and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately, following a Friday night raid where police seized more than 140 fake IDs.

“This licensee has displayed a disturbing indifference to the law by pursuing a business plan seemingly based on catering to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “The SLA will continue to take immediate action against bar owners who fail to take basic measures to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking IDs, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.”


Teens Will Be Tried As Adults In Dad’s Death



Dylan Robinson, 15, is led into Otsego County Court, Cooperstown for a hearing in October. (Libby Cudmore/

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County grand jury has indicted Dylan Robinson, 15, Alexander Borgreen, 16, Anais Soto, 15 and Nicolas Meridy, 32, for the murder of Dylan’s father Kenneth Robinson, 53, inside his Worcester home in October, District Attorney John Muehl announced this morning.

The three teens and Meridy were indicted on Murder, second degree, Burglary, first degree and Attempted Robbery, first degree.

Muehl has said they broke into the house with the intent of stealing marijuana and money and, in the course of that robbery, Dylan shot his father in the chest and the head.

Suspect Beats Up 2 Women Officers

Suspect Beats Up

2 Women Officers

Oneonta Man Charged With Assault

Cameras in the Oneonta Police Station caught footage of Zachary Kaplan, left, allegedly attacking Officer Amanda Catapano after he allegedly slipped out of his handcuffs following his arrest for an alleged domestic incident.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – A man arrested during a domestic dispute then slipped his handcuffs and attacked two female police officers inside the Oneonta Police Station, Police Chief Doug Brenner reported today.

Zachary M. Kaplan, 29, was arrested by Officers Kristen LaPointe and Amanda Catapano following a call that he was violating an order of protection, said Brenner. “He gave them no problems at the scene, put his hands behind his back and got in the patrol car,” the chief said.

Former Food Pantry Manager Pleads Guilty

Former Food Pantry

Manager Pleads Guilty


COOPERSTOWN – Antoine Bourbon-Parme, 59, the former director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry, has plead guilty to grand larceny, fourth degree, for stealing more than $18,000 from the organization, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

“Normally, if it was someone with no criminal history, I might have charged them with a misdemeanor if they agreed to pay restitution,” said Meuhl. “But because of who the victim was, I insisted on a felony. You don’t steal from the food pantry.”

Exeter Man Arrested In Dog Cruelty Case
Zoe Allegedly Chained Outside With No Food, Frozen Water

Exeter Man Charged In

Neglect, Abuse Of Dog


EXETER – Four days after the Susquehanna SPCA rescued Zoe, a dog in such distress that she is believed to have chewed off her own leg, her owner was arrested and charged with abuse and failure to provide shelter.

Carl K. Pritchard, Exeter, was charged with a misdemeanor of over-driving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance and a violation for failing to provide appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors.

“The dog was chained to the ground with a plastic pet carrier that had hay at the bottom,” said Trooper Aga Dembinska, public relations, Troop C. “There was no food bowl and a frozen-over water bowl.”

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