News of Otsego County

DA John Muehl

Otsego County’s Wheels Of Justice Grind – Virtually
Reprinted From This Week’s
Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal

Otsego County’s

Wheels Of Justice

Grind – Virtually

Judges, Lawyers Operating On Skype

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Judge Burns
D.A. Muehl

COOPERSTOWN – Even the courtroom has gone virtual in the age of COVID-19.

“If the arraignment is essential, like a felony arraignment, we’ve got Skype set up in the courtroom,” said District Attorney John Muehl. “An email gets sent around with the information, then the judge, myself and the lawyers can all be present, but nobody has to appear.”

With all cases adjourned until May 15, no one’s appeared virtually yet, but the courts want to be ready. “Arraignments are necessary proceedings,” Muehl said. “For example, if we had a domestic violence case where an order of protection had to be issued, we could arraign them.”


D.A. Challenges Truitt’s Brother


D.A. Challenges

Truitt’s Brother

District Attorney John Muehl, left, and ADA Will Green watch a videotape of Terrence Truitt’s interrogation by OPD during this morning’s testimony. (Libby Cudmore/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – In his testimony this morning, Terrence Truitt, the older brother of defendant Gabriel Truitt, said he went to 5 Walling Ave. – home of Heather Engler – to help his brother look for the keys he’d lost that night following a fight at the Sip & Sail Tavern.

District Attorney John Meuhl wasn’t buying it.

“The Sip & Sail is the opposite direction of Walling Avenue,” he said. “You went to Heather’s Engler place because you knew what your brother was going to do.”

Jury Selection Starts In Fatal Oneonta Fire

Jury Selection Starts

In Fatal Oneonta Fire

Truitt Brother, Girlfriend May Testify

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Gabriel Truitt

ONEONTA – The brother and the ex-girlfriend of Gabriel Truitt, 33, may be called to testify in the trial now underway in Otsego County Court.

They are Terrence Truitt and Heather Engler, and Gabriel is the Oneonta man charged with arson and first-degree murder in the death of former Oneonta firefighter John Heller on Dec. 30, 2018.

Jury selection began Tuesday, Jan 21, with County Judge Brian Burns presiding. District Attorney John Muehl is prosecuting; Truitt is represented by Public Defender Michael Trossett.

Underwood Murder Case Goes To County Court

Oneonta Murder Case Goes To County Court

ONEONTA – The Otsego County grand jury has indicted Joshua P. Underwood, 25, on charges of murder, second degree, and attempted arson, District Attorney John Muehl confirmed this afternoon.

Underwood was charged in the death of Mark J. Morrison, 52, on New Year’s Day in Oneonta. The case will now be tried in Otsego County Court.

Florida Drug Fugitive Arrested In Worcester

Florida Drug Fugitive

Arrested In Worcester

Paula Jo Rutty
Paula Jo Rutty

WORCESTER – A woman who allegedly fled Florida on drug and fraud charges was located in Worcester by investigators with the Otsego County District Attorney’s Office and the DEA.

Convicted felon Paula Jo Rutty, 44, was arrested after the Albany DEA received information that she was back in Upstate NY and wanted in Duval County, Fla. on on two violation of probation felony warrants: possession of a controlled substance and burglary of a structure – conveyance and fraudulent use of a credit card, issued in February after her whereabouts were unknown.

Fourth Person Arrested In Walmart Drug Bust

4th Person Arrested

In Walmart Drug Bust

Dennis Mitchell

ONEONTA – A man who allegedly purchased marijuana from Jason Lee Foster in the Walmart parking lot in Southside Oneonta has been arrested, the county District Attorney’s office reported today.

Dennis Curtis Mitchell, 31, of Sidney, is alleged to have taken an ounce of marijuana out of Foster’s unlocked truck and left $250 cash in its place on Thursday, Dec. 15.  

A warrant of arrest for conspiracy in the sixth degree, a misdemeanor, was obtained by the Town of Oneonta court for his arrest on Dec. 24, and yesterday, with assistance from the Village of Sidney police department, Mitchell was arrested.

He was arraigned by Oneonta Town Judge Bruce A. Smith and remanded to the county Correctional Facility on $500 bail, returnable Jan. 21 in Town of Oneonta Court.  

Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael F. Getman is prosecuting the case.

Three Arrested In WalMart Drug Bust

Three Arrested In

WalMart Drug Bust

Jason Lee Foster
Joseph Lukeman
Alice Foster
Alice Foster

ONEONTA – Three Mount Vision residents were arrested this afternoon on a variety of charges after investigators observed “suspicious activity” in the WalMart parking lot on Southside Drive, Oneonta.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, investigators observed a suspected drug deal in the Walmart parking lot and observed, in plain view, two pills in a plastic baggie inside the vehicle.  They traced the vehicle’s owner, Jason Lee Foster, 33, and determined that earlier that morning, he left an ounce of marijuana that he was going to sell in his unlocked pickup truck in the parking lot. Another individual later went into Foster’s truck, retrieved the marijuana and left $250 in cash.  

Posts navigation

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