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Madrid man may dodge trial Monday through plea bargain, pending restitution agreement

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CANTON — A Madrid man facing charges related to the alleged theft of railway-related metals may avoid trial through a plea agreement.

Alex J. Amyot, 37, agreed to a plea bargain after his attorney, Denise Smith, and St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Joshua A. HaberkornHalm held multiple conferences with St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards on Tuesday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Mr. Amyot pleaded not guilty on March 18 to grand larceny charges alleging that he stole more than $3,000 worth of metal railway-related items belonging to Thomas Fiacco in August in the town of Potsdam.

Jury selection in a trial against Mr. Amyot is scheduled to begin on Monday; however, Judge Richards said attorneys have until Friday to reach an agreed-upon restitution figure that will allow the plea bargain to be complete.

If that plea bargain is reached, Mr. Amyot would be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony, as a second felony offender. He also would be ordered to pay the agreed-upon restitution and $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Mr. Amyot had to be extradited from Florida to face the charges in March and was returned to St. Lawrence County jail awaiting continued court proceedings.

In other court action Tuesday:

Timothy A. Hollenbeck, 49, formerly of Massena, was sentenced to three years of probation supervision after a dismissal of a Sept. 20, 2011, guilty plea to reckless endangerment.

Mr. Hollenbeck’s sentencing by Judge Richards came at the conclusion of a sentencing of one year of interim probation supervision. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Mr. Hollenbeck was jailed in June of 2011 after he fired three rounds from a shotgun during a dispute at his then 30 Cornell Ave., Apt. 4, home with Brent W. Pelkey, then 21, James C. Rust Jr., then 28, and William M. Servin, then 29.

The dispute spilled out into the street, where Mr. Hollenbeck fired two shots and struck Mr. Pelkey a couple of times with the butt end of the gun and the weapon discharged a third time.

Judge Richards did not award Mr. Hollenbeck credit for successfully completing one year because he failed to comply with the terms and conditions of his interim probation, including testing positive for THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, after being tested by St. Lawrence County Probation officials prior to sentencing Tuesday.

When asked about his positive drug test, Mr. Hollenbeck said he preferred to remain silent on the subject.

Judge Richards said that wasn’t an option.

“This man is dangerous when he is not on his medication,” Judge Richards said of Mr. Hollenbeck, who said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. “If you want the benefit of the bargain, you are going to admit that you relapsed. … I’m trying to help you. If you don’t admit the problem, you can’t treat the problem.”

Mr. Hollenbeck told the judge that he had smoked with two friends and Judge Richards told him they weren’t friends and he needs to stay away from anyone who would put him such a position.

Mr. Hollenbeck’s probation was transferred to Steuben County, where he is currently residing, and he was ordered to pay $250 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Susan M. Westurn, 53, of Brushton, had her sentencing adjourned until Aug. 18 pending the successful completion of one year of interim probation.

Ms. Westurn was placed on interim probation by Judge Richards after pleading guilty to charges of fourth-degree grand larceny after she and her son, Samuel F. Westurn, 35, of 183 County Route 32, Moira, stole items, including clothing, from J.C. Penney Co. at St. Lawrence Centre, Massena, and computers from the Massena Walmart. Fourth-degree grand larceny is charged when the stolen items’ total worth exceeds $1,000.

Mr. Westurn was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of a minimum of 15 months or a maximum of 45 months in state prison on Aug. 19.

Norman C. Butler, 19, Star Lake pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary, a class D felony.

On April 21, in the town Clifton, Mr. Butler broke into the home of Chris Aldrich. Mr. Butler confessed to Judge Richards that it was around dawn when he entered through an open window at Mr. Aldrich’s home and stole two BB Guns and a can of soda.

Mr. Butler was released under probation supervision and sentencing was adjourned to Oct. 21.

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