News of Otsego County

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

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7

Oneonta Christmas

Parade, Tree Lighting, More

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HOLIDAY PARADE – 3 p.m. Celebrate the holidays on Main St. Line up at 3, parade at 4. Main St., Oneonta. Visit www.foothillspac.org

TREE FESTIVAL – 3 – 7 p.m. View Christmas Trees beautifully decorated by area individuals, businesses. Production Center, Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit www.foothillspac.org

TREE LIGHTING – 5:30 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Muller Plaza, Oneonta.

FINALLY, Her Story Told At Gillian’s Rally

FINALLY, Her Story Told At Gillian’s Rally

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Former OPD Chief Joseph Redmond reads a letter from the first officer at the scene of Gillian’s slaying. At right is Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Gillian’s sister. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Gillian Gibbons’ voice was silenced when David Dart stabbed her 42 times in the Oneonta Municipal Parking Garage on Sept. 12, 1984.

But Jennifer Miller Dutcher intends to use hers to keep Dart in prison. “I am a survivor of David Dart,” she said. “I am a victim who has a voice, and I have to share my story.”

She told her story at the “Justice for Gillian” rally Saturday, Sept. 28 in Muller Plaza, standing at the podium besides Gillian’s sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, to encourage everyone to write to the state Parole Board and ask them to deny Dart’s parole this November.

“If he gets out, he will rape, he will kill again,” said Kirkpatrick, who organized the rally with state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.

“Help us keep him behind bars,” said Miller Dutcher. “Please help us be that voice for Gillian.”

One evening in 1984, Dart came to Miller Dutcher’s parents’ house in Portlandville and asked if he could talk to her. “He was kind of a loner,” she said. “His grandparents asked us to include him.”

She went outside with him, but he dragged her into the alley between two houses and began to assault her. “He had a knife to my throat,” she said. “He threatened to kill me, and I begged for my life.”

She managed to escape and get back home, where her parents called the police. Dart was sentenced to juvenile detention. “I was able to get away with my life, but he took emotional, physical and spiritual things away from me.”

Though her parents asked that he get counseling as part of his sentence, they later learned that he denied all of it. And because his record was sealed, during his trial for Gillian’s murder, the jury was not able to see his prior violent conviction.

“He’s been terrorizing people since he was an adolescent,” said Kirkpatrick.

“I wasn’t his only victim,” she said. “He attacked other girls, but their parents wouldn’t let them speak out. And he didn’t get the counseling that could have turned the tide. Maybe if he had, if we had known, Gillian would still be with us today.”

Retired Oneonta Police Chief Joseph Redmond, a sergeant at the time, read a letter from former Deputy Sheriff Sean Ralph, who was the first on the scene of Gillian’s murder.

“To this day I remember opening that car door and seeing one of the most horrific crime scenes in my law enforcement career,” the letter read. “I would ask that you trust my assessment that David Dart is a savage and brutal killer that perpetrated such violence and rage that he should never be trusted to prey on an innocent victim again.”

“It was people like you who were instrumental in solving Gillian’s murder,” said Redmond. “Now, I urge all of you to get your family, your friends involved in making sure he never walks among free society again.”

Seward handed out flyers with the information on how to write to the parole board, as well as how to support his bill to extend the time between parole hearings from two years to five.

“David Dart is right where he belongs,” said Seward. “Locked up behind bars. Why should he and other violent criminals have a right to a parole hearing every two years?”

Kirkpatrick and her family will tell Gillian’s story before a member of the parole board on Friday, Oct. 4. Letters to the board are due by the end of October in order to be read ahead of Dart’s November hearing.

“If he gets out, he will do this again,” said Kirkpatrick. “It could be your daughter, your sister, anybody.”

At Rally, Victim’s Sister Warns: ‘David Dart Will Kill Again’

At Rally, Victim’s Sister Warns:

‘Dart Will Kill Again’

His Juvenile Conviction Sealed,

His First Victim Tells Her Story

Jennifer Kirkpatrick, sister of Gillian Gibbons, asked  50 supporters gathered at the “Justice For Gillian” rally in Muller Plaza this afternoon to send letters asking the state Parole Board to deny convicted murderer David Dart parole in the stabbing death of Gibbons, 18, in Oneonta’s Municipal Parking Garage 30 years ago. “If he gets out, he will rape, he will kill again,” Kirkpatrick warned. With her is state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who helped put the rally together and has sponsored a bill to increase the time between parole hearings from two to five years for violent offenders like Dart. At right, Jennifer Miller Dutcher tells her story – that when they were teens, Dart, who lived with his grandparents across the street from her in Portlandville, held her at knifepoint and assaulted her. “We were able to get him sent away for a little while. But when Gillian’s life was taken, I was devastated. I didn’t think I did enough,” she said.  Then shifting to address Bart, she said: “I am a victim who has a voice, and I am using that voice to ask you to keep him behind bars.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

TO SEND A LETTER TO PAROLE BOARD, CLICK HERE
‘Justice For Gillian’ Rally Saturday In Muller Plaza

‘Justice For Gillian’ Rally

Saturday In Muller Plaza

The “Justice for Gillian” Rally for parole reform, organized by victim Jill Gibbons’ sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, will be at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 28, at Muller Plaza in downtown Oneonta.  Seward will speak in opposition to the release of David Dart, found guilty of stabbing Jill to death in 1989 in the city’s downtown parking deck.  The senator and Kirkpatrick will be joined by former city Police Chief Joseph Redmond, who knew the family.  Jill’s family has had to participate in a parole hearing every two years since 2014,  reviving painful memories, and the senator has repeatedly introduce legislation to extend that period to every five years for violent crimes. There will also be an opportunity for those who knew Gillian to say a few words in her memory.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23

Potluck For Christmas

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CHRISTMAS PROGRAM – 6:30 p.m. Bring a dish to pass, table service for potluck dinner, followed by candlelight service. United Methodist Church, 2878 St. Hwy. 28, Portlandville.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8

Candlelight & Carols

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

CANDLELIGHT EVENING – 3 – 7 p.m. Experience magic of Christmas season with a candlelit museum covered in Christmas greenery, horse-drawn sleighs, carolers, bonfires, wassail, theater performances, more. Tickets available at door. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/Candlelight-Evening

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6

Light Oneonta Christmas Tree

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

TREE LIGHTING – 5 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the season at annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring music, vendors, kids activities, dancing, Santa, more. Muller Plaza, Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/

Oneontans Turn Out In Support of Mueller

90 Oneontans Rally

To Save Mueller Probe

Some 90 Oneontans – including, above, Ad Van Buren, Oneonta, Bill Van Buren of Sidney and his wife Julie, and Bruce Van Buren, Oneonta – rallied in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this evening in solidarity with the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller investigations into 2016 campaign irregularies. At right, as passing cars honk in support – and a few against, Betsy Holland, Oneonta, stands with fellow protesters along Main Street with her sign that states “Trump is not above the law!”   The Defend The Mueller Investigation protest, started by Moveon.org and organized locally by Amy Pondolfino, began in response to suspicions that President Trump will be firing Robert Mueller, who is currently investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who overseers Mueller’s work. Mueller’s  efforts have already garnered 20 indictments and several guilty pleas. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Rally to Protect Mueller Probe Planned At 5 In Muller Plaza

Rally to Protect Mueller Probe

Planned At 5 In Muller Plaza

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

ONEONTA – As part of a nationwide protest of the president’s new acting attorney general, a Rally to Protect Mueller Investigation is planned at 5 p.m. today in Muller Plaza, downtown Oneonta, organized by Butternut Valley Indivisible.   “Everyone who loves their country” is invited.

“The Mueller investigation was expected to wrap up quickly as soon as the general election was over,” an invitation emailed overnight says.  “BUT WAIT – The very day after the election, Donald Trump has fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed a partisan loyalist, Matt Whitaker, to take his place.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 15
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 15

Lumberjack Competition, Festival

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OUTDOOR GAMES – 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Features lumberjack competition, BBQ contest, open obstacle course, more. Alden Field, 2 Genesee St., Cherry Valley. E-mail cwatbeau@gmail.com or visit cherryvalleyoutdoorgames.com

ART IN BLOOM – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening reception for show featuring flower arrangements by the Oneonta Garden Club interpreting works from the Mansion Show. Community Arts Network of Oneonta, Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-2070 or visit www.canoneonta.org/event/art-in-bloom-2018-floral-exhibit/?instance_id=1031

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 1
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 1

Art Shows Opening Nights

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OPENING RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Exhibits featuring works by Lilian Vorhees, paintng, Robert Seward, glazed clay sculpture, and David C.T. Wilson, stained & painted glass will launch the gallery’s summer season. On view thru 7/8. The Art Garage, 689 Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. Call 607-547-5327 or visit www.facebook.com/TheArtGarageCooperstown/

MANSION SHOW – 5 – 8 p.m. Artists present works interpreting “Conceal/Reveal.” Prizes awarded for Best, second, third places. Community Arts Network of Oneonta, Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-2070 or visit www.canoneonta.org/event/art-exhibit-2018-mansion-show/?instance_id=1029

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