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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Otsego County Court

Lambert Confirms Order: Oneonta Hotel Repairs Must Be Made By Jan. 11

JUDGE CONFIRMS ORDER:

Oneonta Hotel Repairs

Must Be Made By Jan. 11

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The former Oneonta Hotel, 195 Main St., in its glory days during the first half of the 20th Century.

ONEONTA – In an order by county Judge John Lambert, owner Melania Pervu must make all repairs to the building at 195 Main St. before the Jan. 11, 2019 deadline or she could be held in contempt of court, according to a decision made Friday, Dec. 7.

“The city believes she violated the order, but understands the reluctance to issue a vacancy order before Christmas,” said City Attorney David Merzig.

Decision Due This Week On Oneonta Hotel’s Fate
MRS. PERVU APPEARS IN COURT TODAY

Decision Due This Week

On Oneonta Hotel’s Fate

Oneonta Hotel owner Melania Pervu, above, was back in county court in Cooperstown this morning after City Hall declared she had not met an Oct. 15 deadline to apply for building permits for all the deficiencies building inspectors had identified in the five-story structure at 195 Main St.  County Judge John Lambert said he would issue a decision in this latest development by week’s end.  Lambert had also presided at a Sept. 7 hearing where he outlined a schedule of improvements the Pervus – the wife and husband Nicolae – must make to forestall condemnation in early January.    Inset, City Attorney David Merzig, left, waits as Lambert acts on a number of criminal cases before getting to the Oneonta Hotel.  (Libby Cudmore and Jim Kevlin, www.AllOTSEGO.com)

Cameras Set Stage, Helped Solve Killing

Cameras Set Stage,

Helped Solve Killing

Joshua Underwood is led into Otsego County Court by Deputy Leigh Prostak ahead of a hearing last December. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.”

Underwood Gets 20, Perry Offered 25

UNDERWOOD

GETS 20 YEARS

Perry Offered 25 In Parents’ Slaying

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Joshua Underwood plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will serve 20 years in prison.

ONEONTA – Joshua Underwood, 25, who plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the New Year’s Day death of his boyfriend, Mark Morrison, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Otsego County Court.

Officials say around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 1, 2017, Underwood called 911 and reported that he had killed his boyfriend, 52-year-old Mark Morrison of Oneonta. Police found Morrison dead in his Main Street apartment from what was later ruled to be blunt force trauma to the head. Police also alleged that Underwood tried to conceal the crime by stuffing the apartment doorway with newspapers and setting them on fire.

Though originally scheduled to be sentenced in mid-December, Underwood tried to withdraw his guilty plea for first-degree manslaughter, claiming he was coerced by the public defender’s assistant assigned to the case.

Althiser Pleads Guilty To Milford Church Arson

Althiser Pleads Guilty

To Milford Church Arson

Above, Gerald Althiser, 21, and his lawyer, David Taylor, listen as county Judge John F. Lambert reads the terms of Althiser’s guilty plea this morning. Althiser plead guilty to attempted arson, third degree, for the fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church last March. At right, Rev. Sylvia Barrett, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, read a statement on behalf of the church, telling Althiser that although they forgave him and were praying for him, they hoped the court would sentence him to a facility where he could receive mental health treatment.  Lambert sentenced Althiser to five years probation, to be served at the Homer Folks Facility, a supervised institution for the developmentally disabled, where he will receive counseling. Should he attempt to leave the facility, he will be arrested and sent to state prison for up to seven years. A judgement of $1 million was also placed against him.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

 

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.

Callahan Trial Date Set For March

Callahan Trial Date

Set For March 27

Casey Callahan

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.

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/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.allotsego.com

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.”

DA’s Office: Callahan Trial Likely In 2017

DA’s Office: No Trial

For Callahan ’til 2017

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.

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