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Massena man offered plea to misdemeanor

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MASSENA - A felony charge against a Massena parolee charged with stealing his housemate’s purse has been reduced to a misdemeanor.

Village police had charged Michael D. Slavin, 60, of 38 Bridges Ave., Massena, with fourth-degree grand larceny at 1:04 a.m. June 26. He reportedly stole Gail Goodenough’s purse, which contained her credit card. He was additionally charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after police found a .22 calibre pellet gun and a .22 calibre rifle at his residence when they were investigating the domestic dispute complaint that culminated with the purse theft.

Slavin, a convicted felon, is not allowed to possess weapons.

He had sentenced to two to four years in state prison in December 2011 for a second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument conviction. The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website says Slavin was last released from prison in October 2012.

Prosecutors filed a motion seeking to have the felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny reduced to a misdemeanor charge of petit larceny. Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson granted the motion and noted the District Attorney’s Office had extended a plea offer allowing Slavin to plead guilty to the two misdemeanor charges.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Conflict Defender Sean McDermott was granted an adjournment until Oct. 15 so Slavin could discuss the offer with his attorney. The Massena man has been in custody since his arrest on June 26.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Robert T. Knepp, 22, of 187 Center St., Apt. 3, Massena, was fined $25 and a $125 surcharge for a disorderly conduct conviction. He had been charged with yelling and using obscene language in front of his residence on Sept. 7. Police said he ignored several requests from them to change his behavior, continued to shout obscenities at his neighbors and told police to arrest him. They did.

■ Brad R. Bigtree, 24, of 141 St. Regis Road, Hogansburg, was fined $25 and an $85 surcharge after pleading guilty to unsafe backing in a plea that satisfied a driving while intoxicated charge. St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts told the court prosecutors had a legal issue putting Bigtree behind the wheel of his vehicle. He said prosecutors could prove Bigtree backed into a utility pole and was intoxicated, but lacked the necessary evidence to prove he was intoxicated when he backed into the pole.

Bigtree had been charged with driving while intoxicated and unsafe backing after he police responded to suspicious vehicle complaint in the vicinity of the Coach’s Corner parking lot. Police said witnesses informed them Bigtree had backed into a utility pole on the opposite side of the parking lot.

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