News of Otsego County

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

John Muehl

Cherry Valley Woman Charged With Defrauding Models


C-V Woman Charged

With Defrauding Models

Victoria Pressly

COOPERSTOWN – A Cherry Valley woman was charged with fraud after several out-of-state models claimed they paid her to help them book photo shoots and interviews, but never received any of the services promised.

Victoria Pressly, 53, owner of  Victoria Pressly PR Celebrity Agency, was indicted and charged with Grand Larceny, third degree and Scheme to Defraud, first degree, following an investigation by the Otsego County District Attorney’s office.

Bourbon-Parme To Plead Guilty, Pay Restitution To Food Pantry

Food Pantry Director

To Plead Guilty, Pay

$18K In Restitution

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – Antoine Bourbon-Parme, the former director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry who was charged with stealing more than $18,000 from the organization, will plead guilty and pay back the full amount, District Attorney John Muehl said today.

“He’s never been convicted of a crime and he’s making a payment up front,” said Muehl. “That’s what’s keeping him out of jail.”

Bourbon-Parme, 59, was arrested in April after an investigation found he stole $18,579 from the organization’s accounts over 16 months., beginning in October 2017 and ending in late January.

To Save Victim’s Family From Ordeal Of A Trial, Truitt Offered Plea Deal

To Save Victim’s Family

From Ordeal Of A Trial,

Truitt Offered Plea Deal

Even So, Arson Suspect Faces 25 To Life

Gabe Truitt

COOPERSTOWN – In county court today, District Attorney John L. Muehl offered Gabriel Truitt, 33, a chance to plead guilty to one of two counts – second-degree murder – in the Dec. 29 arson death in Oneonta of former city firefighter John Heller.

“I offered that on the record,” said Muehl, “to try to save the (Heller) family from going through a trial.”

Twins’ Mom Indicted In Newborns’ Deaths

Twins’ Mom Indicted

In Newborns’ Deaths

Twins Bonde and Liam sleep in their bassinet last spring. Their mother has been arrested in their deaths.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

DECATUR – On Saturday, May 4, Kimberly Nicole Steeley wrote a poem on her Facebook page, titled, “If I knew x Two,”

Kimberly Steeley

“If I knew it was the last time I would hold you x2, If I knew it would be the last time I kissed you x2…If I knew love that Deeply x2, If I knew I would

Have tried to save you x2,” she wrote.

On Wednesday, May 8, Steeley, 27, Decatur, was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter in the 2018 deaths of her twin infant children, Liam and Bonde Steeley, barely a month old whey they were found dead in their bassinettes, 16 days apart.

“At first, everyone thought Bonde died of SIDS,” said District Attorney John Muehl. “Then 11 days later, Liam died of the same condition.”

According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego County 911 director, the first call came into the county’s 911 center at 6:28 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, to a house at 185 Skinner Hill Road in the Town of Decatur, where they found the female child unresponsive.

SPCA, Sheriff, DA Form Animal Cruelty Task Force

SPCA, Sheriff, District Attorney

Form Animal Cruelty Task Force

John Muehl, Otsego County District Attorney, Stacie Haynes. executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. have partnered to begin establishing an Animal Cruelty Task Force, aimed at preventing, educating and empowering law enforcement on how to deal with animal cruelty cases.

COOPERSTOWN – The Susquehanna SPCA will partner with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office to look at creating a task force dedicated to combating animal cruelty in the county.

“In addition to having a system in place for when we do have animal cruelty cases involving animal seizures, we plan to educate and empower law enforcement and the public about the humane treatment of animals and what we can do if we suspect cruelty,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA, in a statement.

Jury Deliberations Begin in Murder Trial

Jury Deliberations

Begin in Murder Trial

District Attorney John Muehl gives his closing statement in the trial against Casey Callahan, accused of killing his wife Elizabeth in January 2000. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

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.”

Elizabeth’s Last Words: ‘I Love You’ Investigator Testifies

Victim’s Words Before Death,

Investigator Says: ‘I Love You’

COOPERSTOWN – Investigator Sean Ralph testified that Casey Callahan, currently on trial for the 2000 murder of his wife, Elizabeth Welsh Callahan, told him that her final words to her husband were “‘I love you, I’ll see you on the other side’,” allegedly referring to the opposite side of the Dandy Mart truck stop where Callahan was to pick her up.

Killing Intrigued Callahan, 2 Former Friends Testify


Killing Intrigued Suspect,

2 Former Friends Testify

By PARKER FISH • Special to

Casey Callahan, right, is led out of the Otsego County Courthouse by a sheriff’s deputy at the conclusion of the first day of his trial. An Attica inmate, he is currently being housed at the Otsego County Jail. (Parker Fish/

COOPERSTOWN – Casey Callahan, on trial for murder in Otsego County Court, discussed with two friends why and how he would kill someone shortly before the 2000 death of his wife, the two testified this afternoon.

“I’ve always wanted to know what it felt like” to kill someone, one witness, Joseph Keto, Oneonta, on the stand this afternoon, recalled hearing Callahan say.

“He said he would run someone over with a truck,” said the other witness, Patrick Welsh, Goodyear Lake, brother of the alleged murder victim, Elizabeth Welsh Callahan, Casey’s wife.

Callahan’s trial, which began with opening statements this morning, recessed for lunch, then testimony continued until 4:30.

Judge Denies Underwood Request For Change Of Counsel

Judge Denies Underwood

Request For New Attorney

Joshua P. Underwood is led into Otsego County Court this morning, where a scheduled felony hearing was closed, pending the Grand Jury’s decision on whether or not to indict. (Ian Austin/


Judge Lucy P. Bernier denied Underwood’s request for change of counsel.

ONEONTA – Judge Lucy P. Bernier denied Joshua Underwood’s request for a change of counsel during his appearance in Oneonta City Court this morning.

Underwood, who had been arrested and charged with murder in the New Year’s Day death of Mark J. Morrison, 52, had written a letter to Judge Bernier, dated Jan. 8, to request the change, saying his lawyer, Assistant Public Defender James Ferrari, spoke to the press after he asked him not to.

“Mr. Ferrari is an experienced counsel,” said Bernier. “I see no basis to this claim, and am denying this request.”




D.A. Says Former Goodyear Lake

Man Killed Wife In Pennsylvania

Casey Callahan
Casey Callahan

COOPERSTOWN – After 16 years, Casey James Callahan, 50, has been arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, Elizabeth.

Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl annouced a few minutes ago he believes that Callahan, a Unadilla native, originated the plan to kill his wife while they were living in Goodyear Lake.  On Jan. 19, 2000, according to a press release, Callahan ran over Elizabeth with a tractor trailer in the parking lot of the Dandy Mini Mart # 19 in Sayre, Pa., just off Route 17’s Exit 59A at Wilawan, west of Binghamton.

“We believe he took her there to kill her,” said Muehl.  “We believe the intent originated here in Otsego County.”

Milford Man Arrested For Child Rape

Milford Man Charged With Child Rape

MILFORD – A 45-year-old Milford man was arrested and charged with child rape after the Otsego County District Attorney’s office received information that he was abusing an underage female, it was announced over the weekend.

Kevin William Blush was arrested April 29 after investigators at the DA’s office received a tip that he was having sexual contact with a girl under the age of 15.

20-20 Explores Neighbors’ Feud In Hartwick That Let To Arrests

20-20 Explores Neighbors’ Feud

In Hartwick That Led To Arrests

ABC's 20-20 "Bad Neighbors" episode Friday evening featured Gene Ellis waving "posted" signs and an interview with neighbors Gene Sohacki and Katherine Gannon for filing too many complaints.
ABC’s 20-20 “Bad Neighbors” episode Friday evening featured Gene Ellis waving “posted” signs and an interview with neighbors Paul Sohacki and Katherine Gannon (inset) for filing too many complaints against Ellis.

HARTWICK – A couple living on 12 acres in Nersesian Road, Town of Hartwick, complained so often about their neighbor Gene Ellis, who lives on 52 acres next door, that they were arrested, according to a report on ABC’s 20-20 Friday evening.

District Attorney John Muehl is featured, defending his decision.

It all started, the couple Paul Sohacki and Katherine Gannon recall, because Ellis’ driveway crossed a sliver of their land, according to 20-20 interview.


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