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News of Otsego County

crime

Dog Charmer by Tom Shelby: Stories from a working dogs life

Dog Charmer by Tom Shelby
Stories from a working dogs life

My two working dogs were Michelle and Mike, both Dobermans. Michelle found two people alive and some not alive. Mike tracked a woman 11 miles. They were search and rescue dogs.

Readers, as you’re reading this you are dropping about 40 thousand dead skin cells a minute. You and I have about five million olfactory cells in our noses, Michelle had more than 200 million.

DA mulls vacating Borggreen plea deal following Robinson murder conviction

DA mulls vacating Borggreen plea deal
following Robinson murder conviction

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN — Now that the trial of Dylan Robinson has ended in conviction, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he is considering restarting the process against Robinson’s accomplice, Alexander Borggreen, for refusing to testify against Robinson despite making a plea deal.

Muehl said he was satisfied with the conviction, which the jury returned Wednesday, June 23, although he said he was surprised they didn’t convict Robinson of arson.

Robinson was convicted of second degree murder in the Oct. 10, 2019, shooting death of his father, Kenneth Robinson, as well as robbery in the third degree and first degree burglary.

“You have a 15-year-old who killed his father. Nobody takes pleasure in putting a 15-year-old in prison,” Muehl said, calling what Robinson did a “pretty violent crime.”

Muehl said he anticipates a harsh sentence because of the nature of the crime.

Muehl said he hasn’t made a decision on what is going to happen to Borggreen.

“I can make a motion to vacate his plea and his sentence and start over again. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Muehl said. “But once again, we’re dealing with a 17-year-old. They don’t make the greatest decisions, and in reality, him not testifying, other than the fact that he could’ve established for certain for the jury that Dylan Robinson was the one who shot Kenneth Robinson, was almost as good as him testifying.”

The defense attorney for Robinson, Thomas Hegeman, said that the trial “was a tough case.”

“The bottom line is we were offered a plea bargain, my client didn’t like it so we went to trial,” Hegeman said.

The plea deal would’ve been for murder one, with a sentence of 22 to life.

Muehl said the crime was unusual in Otsego. “The last young person I had killed his parents when he was 19,” he said. “In my career I’ve never had anything like this with a 15-year-old.”

Robinson murder trial goes to jury, verdict expected Wednesday
Dylan Robinson, right, appeared in Otsego County Court on Monday, June 21, to face charges that he murdered his father, Kenneth Robinson in 2019. (Kevin Limiti/AllOtsego.com).

Robinson murder trial
goes to jury,
verdict expected Wednesday

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOERSTOWN — The second day of the Dylan Robinson trial at the Otsego County Courthouse ended Tuesday, June 22, with jury deliberations, after the prosecution rested and the defense chose not to submit any evidence.

Robinson is accused of allegedly killing his father, Kenneth Robinson, and burning his house after a failed robbery attempt. He is charged with second-degree murder, burglary and attempted robbery in the first degree and third-degree arson.

Tuesday morning testimony began with Cory Robinson, 14, who testified that he remembered the night of Oct. 10, 2019 “because that’s the day my dad died.”

Cory Robinson, 12 at the time, was awoken by gunshots in the house.

He said that armed people came in his home wearing blue bandannas and he recognized two of them as his brother Dylan Robinson and Alexander Borggreen. Someone pointed a gun at him and asked for his phone, so he gave it to them.

Afterwards, he and his brother, Aiden, were told to put pillows up to their faces and walked a short distance from the house. They were told to walk back and found their home in flames.

He found Kenneth Robinson’s body when he came back to the house. “When I took the pillow off, I saw my dad,” Cory Robinson said.

Duo sentenced for series of gas station robberies

Duo sentenced for series
of gas station robberies

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – A pair of Otsego County men were sentenced Monday, May 10, for their roles in a series of robberies, attempted robberies and an assault that took place during a one-day crime spree April 24, 2020, in and around the city and town of Oneonta.

Brian Ruple, 42, of Otego, received a sentence of seven years in state prison for a second degree assault with a knife that he committed during one of the robberies, at the Kwik-Fill convenience store at 65 Chestnut St. in Oneonta, where he stabbed a clerk in the hand. Ruple will then serve between two-and-a-half to five years for robbery in the third degree.

Otsego County Judge John Lambert said he was sentencing Ruple as a second-time felony offender because Ruple was convicted in Oneida County in 2013 of a class D felony of possession of a dangerous controlled substance.

Ruple’s accomplice, driver Derrick Gray, 42, of Laurens, received a sentence of between two-and-a-half to five years for robbery in the third degree.

Robinson Case to begin April 14

Robinson Case To Begin April 14

Teen accused of killing father for cash, marijuana

Dylan Robinson, then 15, is led into Otsego County Court, Cooperstown for a hearing in October 2019, days after the death of his father. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – The remaining suspect to be tried as an adult in the 2019 murder of Kenneth Robinson of Worcester, his son Dylan Robinson, will see his trial begin with jury selection, which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 14.

Kenneth Robinson, 53, was killed Oct. 10, 2019, in what police and prosecutors have called an attempted robbery of about $5,000 in cash and marijuana. The suspects then attempted to set fire to his house in an effort to disguise the murder.

The police apprehended six suspects soon afterward: Nicolas Meridy, then 32, of Oneonta; Dylan Robinson, then 15, of Worcester; Alexander Borggreen, then 16, of Oneonta; Anais Soto, then 15, of Oneonta; Alexis Lotterman, then 16, of Walton; and Tatiana Febo, then 17, of Downsville.

Suspect Sought In Heist Attempt

Suspect Sought In Heist Attempt

This white sedan, parked near the bank, is being sought.
The suspect’s image was captured on the bank’s camera.

The suspect in the attempted robbery Monday afternoon, March 22, at NBT Bank’s branch was still at large at presstime Tuesday evening.

The incident occurred at 1:56 p.m. at the 16 Main St. bank. The suspect didn’t threaten the bank’s staff or display a weapon.

State police from the Richfield Springs Barracks are handling the investigation.

Bank robberies, or threat of such, are rare in Otsego County. Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. said the last one he remembers was at the NBT in Edmeston on June 6, 2016, almost five years ago.

Likewise, prosecutions are a rarity, said Assistant District Attorney Chris Di Donna.

Attempted robbery is considered a violent felony under state law, punishable by a prison term of 16 months or more.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Crime A Worry, But ‘Quality Of Life’ Of Greater Concern

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Crime A Worry,
But ‘Quality Of Life’
Of Greater Concern

I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.

…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.

The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.

Megan McArdle
Washington Post, March15, 2021

Focus Indictments Put All Nursing-Home Operators On Notice

Editorial, June 29, 2018

Focus Indictments

Put All Nursing-Home

Operators On Notice

Now we know, lives indeed may be at stake.
Two top executives of Focus Ventures have been arrested on eight counts involving two residents of the county’s former nursing home, Otsego Manor. (The county sold the Manor to Focus in January 2014, for $18.5 million, and Centers Health Care bought it from Focus in January for an undisclosed sum.)
Five of the counts are “endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.” The other three are “willful violation of health laws.”
Two patients were involved. The first, identified as M.B., was a celebrated case. She was left untended in a wheelchair throughout Memorial Day Weekend 2016. Several nurses and aides faced criminal charges as a result. The second, now known to be Robert Banta, longtime chair of the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation board; the conservation center on Route 33, Town of Middlefield, is named in his honor. He fell on June 17, 2015, the night he moved into Focus, hit his head, and died a week later.
Arrested and arraigned May 31 in Otsego Town Court in Fly Creek were
Focus CEO Joseph Zupnik and Daniel Herman, a
partner in the company.
The company that operated Focus Otsego, CCRN
Operator, was also charged.

On the one hand, there’s hope in this piece of bad news, hope that nursing-home operators can’t recklessly cut staff and not be held responsible for deadly consequences.
Two weeks before, another piece of bad news, that Centers, Focus’ successor, had unilaterally raised “private pay” rates from $320 to $510 a day, the highest in New York State – Long Island and New York City included – caused a sense of despair. (Since, Centers has rolled it back to $410.)
With federal reimbursement policies forcing public nursing homes into private hands, can nothing be done to ensure the new private owners provide satisfactory care to our most vulnerable fellow citizens?
Recently, Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, vice chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives and chairman of its Human Services Committee, wrote a letter in response to an editorial urging the county board take more responsibility for the former Otsego Manor.
Having sold the Manor, he said, the county board no longer has responsibility for what happens there. This is not to beat up on Koutnik: His opinion is widely shared among county representatives.

The Zupnik-Herman arrests prompt us to repeat our point, and expand on it.
At the very least, the county board should have a representative at every meeting of the Centers (formerly Focus) Family Council. Medicaid regulations require nursing homes that accept federal reimbursement to have such councils. It is the only opportunity for the public to be briefed and ask questions of administrators.
Our state senator and assemblymen should do the same. And certainly, Congressman John Faso, R-Kinderhook, or any Democrat who might defeat him this fall should follow suit – after all, federal reimbursement policies forced the county to sell excellent Otsego Manor to profit-powered entities.
Since, who hasn’t heard stories with dismay about the degradation of service locally?

Regardless, the Zupnik-Herman indictments are excellent news, whatever the resolution of the court case.
The indictments, by the state Attorney General’s Office, send the message loud and clear: Top executives of nursing-home corporations may be exempt from the common decency in the search for profits, but they aren’t exempt from the criminal code.
What’s needed is whistle-blowers, not just private citizens, but the officials we elected to take care of us, who have greater clout in forcing action than the rest of us.
(In this case, that might indeed have already happened; if so, bravo.)

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, JAN. 9
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, JAN. 9

Learn To Use A 3-D Printer

14-19eventspage

Last day to register for Cornell Cooperative Extension Poultry Workshop. Info, cceschoharie-otsego.org/events/2017/01/14/4-h-poultry-101-workshop

3-D PRINTING – 3:30-7:30 p.m. Open hours. Open play. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org

BOOK GROUP – 2 p.m. Crime Fiction. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/calendar

OPEN REHEARSAL – 4:30-6:30 p.m. Little Delaware Youth Ensemble invies the community, parents, musicians, and prospective musicians and their parents to this rehearsal of this string based orchestra. Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta. Info, www.ldye.org

DRAWING GROUP – 7-9 p.m. Come practice drawing with a live model. $10 donation. To attend call the Cooperstown Art Association, (607)547-9777. Info, www.cooperstownart.com/for-adults.html

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