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

Alpacas, Sheep Found Dead on New Lisbon Farm

Alpacas, Sheep Found

Dead In New Lisbon;

Farmer Faces Charges

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – A farmer was arrested after Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies, responding to a neighbor’s concern about animal cruelty, found dead animals on his New Lisbon farm.

Christopher M. D’Amato, 54, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after deputies were called to the scene, where, while walking around the property, observed dead sheep and alpacas, deputies said.

Other farm animals, including horses, were found to be neglected, they added.

Troopers: Individuals Conducting Fake Traffic Stops

Bogus Officer Stopping Traffic,

Issuing ‘Travel Ban’ Warnings

ONEONTA – State Police are investigating two incidents of who allegedly impersonated a trooper to conduct traffic stops and harass drivers over a non-existent “travel ban.”

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C Public Information Officer, the suspect – likely the same person in both instances, she noted – allegedly pulled over two cars in late March. The individual then asked the purpose of the motorists’ travel and warned they would be fined for violating the “travel ban” if they were caught on the road again.

Police: Woman Spit On Bassett Employees

Police: Woman Spit

On Bassett Employees

COOPERSTOWN – A woman was arrested after she allegedly spit on Bassett Hospital employees and told them she had COVID-19, according to Cooperstown Police Officer David Kaminski.

“A female was being seeing by staff at Bassett when she became irate and began spitting in several staff member’s faces,” said Kaminski. “She then told them she had coronavirus.”

Sheriff: Employee Stole Masks From Bassett

Sheriff: Employee Stole

Face Masks From Bassett

COOPERSTOWN – A Morris woman was accused of stealing face masks and alcohol prep pads from Bassett Hospital, where she worked as a contracted employee, according to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Josie D. Wright, 33, was arrested after Bassett Security called the Sheriff’s Department  to assist them in an investigation into the thefts of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the hospital.

Burlington Flats Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash

Burlington Flats Man

Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Kyle Seamon, Burlington Flats, was killed when his motorcycle collided with an SUV on Route 28 in Richfield.

RICHFIELD – A 20-year-old Burlington Flats man was killed when he was hit by a car making a turn on State Route 28 near the Canadarago Lake boat launch in the Town of Richfield.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, Kyle J. Seamon was driving his motorcycle south on Route 28 when a woman driving an SUV north made a left turn onto Hyder Road, directly into Seamon’s path.  The SUV and motorcycle collided.

Logging Truck Overturns In Delhi


Logging Truck

Flips In Delhi

A logging truck overturned on a snowy Delaware County Route 2 on Monday. The driver was uninjured, but the road was closed for several hours as Sheriff’s Deputies worked to clear the road.

DELHI – A Delhi road was shut down for several hours after a logging truck driven by an Oneontan overturned on slush-covered roads Monday evening, the Delaware County sheriff reported today.

According to Sheriff Craig DuMond, David Stanton, 35, Oneonta, was driving the tractor-trailer on East Terry Clove Road when the trailer, loaded with logs, jack-knifed on the slush covered roadway and partially rolled onto its side as Stanton made a left turn onto Route 2.

Man Struck By Tractor Trailer In Schuyler Lake

Man Struck By

Tractor Trailer

In Schuyler Lake

State police investigate the scene of a man who was struck by a tractor trailer on County Road 22 in Schuyler Lake.

SCHUYLER LAKE – A man was seriously injured after was struck by a tractor trailer driving on County Road 22 in Schuyler Lake.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, a tractor trailer with a dump trailer was traveling east on County Road 22 when an adult male pedestrian entered the roadway and was struck by the vehicle. Troopers were dispatched to the scene at 1:44 p.m.

Oneonta UPS Worker Helps Stop Scam


Oneonta UPS Worker

Helps Stop Online Scam

ONEONTA – An employee at the Oneonta UPS store on Southside helped stop a victim from sending thousands of dollars to what turned out to be a scam artist, according to Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond.

DuMond’s department was contacted by an elderly bank customer who had responded to a pop-up notification on their computer, stating that the machine was in need of repair.

When the “mark” responded, the scammer was able to gain control of the computer’s operating system, and convince the victim to share personal financial account information, allowing access to the victim’s financial account on-line, then locking and restricting the victim’s access to the computer.

Fire Doused In Nader Towers

Fire Doused In

Nader Towers

The contents of Apartment 213 were on the side lawn of Nader Towers this afternoon after a fire alarm called Oneonta firefighters to the senior citizen highrise. The fire was accidental and started in the kitchen.  Smoke alarms went off, and the resident herself called 911.  There were no pets in the apartment, and no injuries.  The resident is staying with friends overnight.  OFD Capt. Mike Mancini said, on arrival, the crews ran a hose up the stairway.  There was fire damage in the kitichen, and a little smoke damage in the hall.  Because the building is concrete, the fire didn’t spread, Mancini said.  (Ian Austin/
Steeley Not Guilty In Twins’ Death


Mom Not Guilty

In Twins’ Deaths

By LIBBY CUDMORE •  Special to

Kimberly Steeley weeps in attorney Andrew Van Buren’s arms after the “not guilty” verdict was read by the jury foreman. (Libby Cudmore/

COOPERSTOWN – In just over three hours, a jury found Kimberly Steeley, 27, Decatur, not guilty in the June 2018 deaths of her infant twins, Bonde and Liam.

Steeley’s attorney, Andrew Van Buren, made the case that the babies died of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – in part, because they had come home from the hospital too soon. Both babies were preemies; Bonde, was just over 4 pounds when she died, and that Liam, who died 11 days later, was 5.14 pounds.

On Friday, March 6, Steeley testified that although she did fall asleep in bed with both of them on the nights they died, at no point was her body, bedding or clothing obstructing their airways.

Jury Begins Deliberations In Death Of Twins

Jury Begins Deliberations

In Worcester Twins’ Deaths

District Attorney John Muehl, left, lays out his case for a guilty verdict in the trial of Kimberly Steeley, charged with manslaughter in the deaths of her infant twins, Bonde and Liam, in June 2018, as part of closing arguments in Otsego County Court this morning. “This is a very sad case,” he said. “She lost her twins. But she made the decision to use drugs and sleep with her children, and the evidence says she is guilty.” Seated, at right, is defense attorney Andrew Van Buren, Hobart, and Steeley. In his closing statements, Van Buren pointed out the consistency across statements made by the Steeley family, including her mother, Arlene and her father, Christopher, while hammering the testimony of Thomas Hewitt and theorizing that the babies were brought home from the hospital too soon. “Bonde weighed four pounds, seven ounces when she died,” he said. “She was never going to make it, whether she was in a bed or a bassinet. She was going to die because the doctors sent her home from the hospital too soon.” Deliberations began just after noon. (Libby Cudmore/
Describing ‘Nightmare’ Of Finding Infants Dead, Steeley Takes Stand In Trial

Describing ‘Nightmare’

Of Finding Babies Dead,

Mom Takes Stand In Trial

Pausing frequently to wipe away tears, Kimberly Steeley took the stand for nearly two hours to testify in her own defense against charges that she smothered her two infant children, Bonde and Liam, in June 2018. Bonde died on June 5, the night she was brought home from the hospital, after Steeley said she placed the infant face-up on her lap and fell asleep. 11 days later, she was sleeping with Liam next to her on a pillow and awoke to find him unresponsive. “It was a nightmare,” she said. “I was in such shock (after Liam died) that I had to be sedated at the hospital.” But District Attorney John Muehl, inset left, maintains that Steeley, who admitted to using suboxone for an opioid addiction, committed manslaughter when she used the drug and brought them into bed, having introduced prior testimony that nurses had told her not to co-sleep, as well as testimony that the cause of death was asphyxiation. The prosecution rested after her testimony, and closing statements will begin Monday morning; if found guilty, Steeley faces 30 years in prison, 15 for each child. (Ian Austin/

Did Mother Asphyxiate  Twins – Or Did Father? Open Statements Set Up Scenario: Which Drugged Parent Responsible?

Did Mother Asphyxiate 

Twins – Or Did Father?

Opening Statements Set Up Scenario:

Which Drugged Parent Responsible?

The manslaughter trial of Kim Steeley, 27, of Decatur – seen weeping in court today – opened with two contrasting scenarios in Otsego County Court this morning. In his opening statement, District Attorney John Muehl blamed the mother for the June 2018 deaths of twins Liam and Bonde, born prematurely: “The real problem was, she (Steeley) was high and she nodded off on these children. In her altered state, she suffocated them.” But in his opening statement, defense lawyer Andrew Van Buren, Hobart, pointed out the father of the twins, Tommy Hewitt, was sleeping in the same bed, and had been furious when he learned Steeley was pregnant, punching her and chipping a tooth.  Still, Hewitt only leveled charges against Steeley after he was arrested under the influence and was looking for leverage, the lawyer said. “He’ll retract everything he said,” added Van Buren.  Both Steeley and Hewitt are expected to testify.  Both, according to the lawyers, were using Suboxone, an intoxicant used to wean drug users from hard drugs.  Inset are twins, Liam, a boy, and Bonde, a girl.  (Jim Kevlin/

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