CANTON — A St. Lawrence County inmate who is being charged in connection with the January thefts at three Walmarts that netted about $40,000 in electronics was released from jail Friday.
Travynn L. Ippolito, 26, of Tennessee, had been held in St. Lawrence County jail on two counts of third-degree grand larceny and fifth-degree conspiracy. He has a third count of third-degree grand larceny pending in Franklin County Court, Malone.
On Jan. 31, Mr. Ippolito, along with Brandy D. Young, 35, and Nina M. Duprey, 35, both of Plattsburgh, was arrested by St. Lawrence County sheriff’s detectives and deputies following an investigation into larcenies that took place at Walmart stores in Potsdam, Massena and Malone.
Mr. Ippolito was released from county jail as a result of a 45-day motion filed by his attorney, Edward F. Narrow, on Thursday. The district attorney’s office has 45 days from the time of a felony arrest to bring an indictment. Mr. Ippolito was released on his own recognizance after being in jail for 118 days.
In court Friday, Assistant District Attorney Joshua A. HaberkornHalm told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that he was under the impression that there were “good faith” plea negotiations underway, which is why the case was not presented to a grand jury.
On May 12, a conference was held in Judge Richards’s chambers between Mr. Narrow and Mr. HaberkornHalm, where a plea deal was extended awaiting information regarding a charge against Mr. Ippolito in Tennessee to see if he would be sentenced as a second felony offender.
Aside from the Feb. 24 date in which Mr. Ippolito waived his right to a speedy trial and the May 12 date in which a plea deal was extended, Mr. HaberkornHalm said he was unable to present any additional documentation that would show proof of negotiation. He said it is not common practice to keep what would be comparable to billable hours in a private law firm.
The district attorney’s office should have been given 45 days to present the case to a grand jury starting June 9, the day Mr. Ippolito requested a release from jail and the point at which the negotiations ceased, which would still keep Mr. Ippolito in jail for an additional 34 days, Mr. HaberkornHalm said.
Mr. Narrow said that he had advised Mr. Ippolito against filing the motion to be released because that move would take any possible plea deal off the table.
Mr. Ippolito now faces consecutive sentencing for all his charges, which could land him in prison for a maximum of 21 years, and that makes him a flight risk.
“Obviously for Mr. Ippolito, his heroin problem leads him to commit crimes,” Mr. Narrow said. “The first concern is that when you have someone who has an untreated substance abuse problem, when they get out of jail the first thing you think of is that they are going to start shooting again.”
Mr. Narrow added that Mr. Ippolito has no ties to the north country except for the people he allegedly conspired with to commit the burglaries.
“I’m not really sure that I will ever see him until he gets picked up on a warrant. Getting him out of jail today was not my idea,” Mr. Narrow said. “This was his decision and there is no plea deal now and he could go to jail for a significant amount of time for a short amount of freedom, so this is not a good trade-off.”