ONEONTA – Three men who allegedly grabbed an Oneonta woman off the street and threw her into a van before demanding money were indicted on felony charges of kidnapping and robbery in Otsego County court yesterday, according to District Attorney John Muehl.
Erankie Liberata-Garcie, 24, Erick Tavares, 33 and James Semidey, 26, all of the Bronx, were arrested in May after Oneonta Police received a report from neighbors on Watkins Avenue that claim they saw two men grab a woman off the street and thrown into a white cargo van.
ONEONTA – An 88-year-old Laurens woman got a call, purportedly from Cooperstown Police: Her granddaughter had been in an accident, she was fine, but her car had been impounded and she needed $4,000 in cash to get it out.
The woman was instructed to wrap the money in a sweater and mail it to Staten Island. She did so, shipping the package overnight from The Shipping Room in Oneonta. But when the same person called back and asked for four Home Depot cards, she asked, “Is this a scam?”
“The person on the other end of the line said ‘Thanks for playing’ and hung up,” said Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.
COOPERSTOWN – A former home health aide was arraigned in Otsego County Court today on charges that she stole more than $33,000 from an elderly couple over 15 months when they were in her care.
Stephanie Shulgay, 32, plead “Not guilty” to the third-degree grand larceny charges, filed by a grand jury. It is alleged that she stole the money from the couple by using their credit and debit cards between July 2017 and October 2018, while working as a home health aide.
“You can’t just breach someone’s trust like that,” said District Attorney John Muehl.
According to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department, Shulgay allegedly used the money to pay bills for herself and an elderly uncle.
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.”
TOWN OF MIDDLEFIELD – The sister of Kevin A. Perry came home on the evening of Tuesday Dec. 12 to find both of her parents dead on the floor of their Laurens trailer home, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. reported at a press conference this afternoon at the county jail.
Both were killed by gunshots, and Kevin Perry, 23, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his parents, Timothy A. Perry, 59, and Solveige E. Perry, 52.
COOPERSTOWN – Casey Callahan, 52, who was found guilty of the January 2000 murder of his wife Elizabeth Welsh in the county’s first murder trial in decades, was sentenced to 25-to-life by Judge John F. Lambert during his hearing yesterday on Otsego County Court.
“It’s the maximum sentence, and I’m satisfied,” said District Attorney John Muehl. “This was a cold, calculated, pre-meditated murder.”
“I ask the court to consider the magnitude and impact of this crime that took Elizabeth’s life and what it has done to her son and family,” said her sister, Marie Valentine, in a statement to the judge. “I would ask your honor to consider sentencing Casey Callahan to the maximum sentence under the law, as any time he spends incarcerated is nothing compared to what he did to Elizabeth and what her family has and will experience in our lifetime.”
COOPERSTOWN – A jury this morning found Casey Callahan guilty of murder in the second degree for the Jan.19, 2000 death of his wife, Elizabeth Welsh Callahan.
The verdict came in around 11:30 a.m. District Attorney John Muehl prosecuted the case throughout the week, calling 21 witnesses. In the final hours of the trial yesterday morning, Callahan himself was called to the stand by his attorney, William Schebaum.
ANATOMY OF A MURDER TRIAL
DAY ONE: Monday, Sept. 11
• IN OPENING REMARKS, District Attorney Muehl paraphrases suspect Callahan: “I can kill someone and get away with it.”
• TRUCK DRIVER George Borrowdale describes witnessing Callahan’s rig running over wife Elizabeth
COOPERSTOWN – With a total 22 witnesses called, including suspect Casey Callahan, the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments in the murder trial against Callahan, who was charged with killing his wife, Elizabeth Welsh Callahan, at a truck stop on January 19, 2000.
“Four tires ran directly down the center of her body,” said District Attorney John Muehl in his closing statement. “I submit you can’t do that by accident. This plan was tailor-made for Elizabeth.”
But Callahan’s defense argued that the jury is tasked with deciding if jurisdiction allowed Elizabeth’s death in Pennsylvania, which Callahan maintained was an accident, could be prosecuted in New York. “There is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this case belongs in New York State,” said William Schebaum, Callahan’s attorney. “I urge you not to allow speculation, emotion, or even a dislike of the defendant to be a substitute to fact.”
COOPERSTOWN – Accused of running over his wife with his rig 17 years ago, Casey Callahan took the stand in his own defense as three days of testimony came to an end.
“I wasn’t the best husband,” Callahan told his lawyer, Public Defender Bruce Maxson. “I could say mean things at times, but I loved her.” When Maxson questioned him about earlier testimony that alleged domestic abuse, Callahan responded, “I’ve never hit her. I’ve never kicked her.”
ONEONTA – The Cherry Valley man charged with hiring a hitman was looking to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend, according to Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl.
Danny Baldwin, 56, was arrested Tuesday, March 21, on charges that he had allegedly paid a man $20,000 to murder his estranged wife, as well as her boyfriend. The man went to the State Police at Richfield Springs, and Baldwin was charged with Conspiracy in the second degree, a class B felony in the Town of Richfield court.
This afternoon, Baldwin’s case was transferred to Otsego County Court. No grand jury trial date has been set.
COOPERSTOWN – Casey Callahan is scheduled to go to trial on March 27 in the alleged murder of his wife, Elizabeth, according to District Attorney John Muehl.
He was charged last June with her murder, which Muehl believes was planned in Otsego County. Callahan is currently serving 12 1/2 years at the Attica Correctional Facility for a conviction on criminal sexual act in the first degree.
COOPERSTOWN – Casey Callahan, 50, will likely go to trial in 2017 after being arrested in June for the alleged killing of his wife Elizabeth 16 years before in Pennsylvania, according to Investigator Mike Ten Eyck at the county District Attorney’s Office.
“There’s not as much of a rush; he’s not sitting in the county jail, he’s already serving a sentence in Attica,” said Ten Eyck, after Callahan was back at the county courthouse today to for “a monthly return date.” His next visit here will be Oct. 3.