Crime And Punishment

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a two-day series recapping the year’s top local stories.

The area had its share of crime in 2013.

Two teenagers were sent to prison for the 2012 slaying of two other youths. A local emergency medical technician was charged with touching women patients sexually in an ambulance. A man was accused of killing his mother in Ephratah.

Those are just a few of the serious crime-related stories this paper reported on during the year.

The paper also reported on some off-beat local criminal cases. Sno Kone Joe, for example, made national news when the couple operating the ice cream vending truck was accused of harassing rival vendor Mr. Ding-A-Ling. In another case, the now-former Fulton County historian was charged with stealing a coffee maker from a room at the county office building.

Here is a summary of some of the top local crime-and-punishment stories of the year:

Two teens go to prison

Teenagers Matthew Phelps and Anthony Brasmeister were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in July for the slayings of two other Amsterdam youths, Jonathan DeJesus and Paul Damphier. The victims were shot in a field in the town of Florida in 2012. Phelps and Brasmeister pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. Montgomery County District Attorney said the two had planned the killings, which Conboy called a “senseless act.”

Killer gets life in prison

Ivan “Big Man” Ramos was sentenced to two life sentences in prison in March for the 2012 killing of two people in an Amsterdam apartment. Ramos of Amsterdam was convicted of first-degree murder. Authorities said he stabbed and killed William McDermott, 56, and Cheryl Goss, 46 at McDermott’s Amsterdam apartment.

EMT charged, jailed

An emergency medical technician for the Ambulance Service of Fulton County who also worked as a Gloversville firefighter was accused early this year of touching two women in a sexual manner while they were patients in an ambulance. He was charged with forcible touching and was sentenced in August to 30 days in jail. Frye was fired from the ambulance service after his arrest early this year and resigned from the Fire Department in June.

Director sentenced

The former executive director of Adirondack Mentoring Partners – formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fulton County – was sentenced in April to 90 days in the Fulton County Jail for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the agency and in unemployment benefits. She pleaded guilty to a felony after she was accused of stealing more than $43,000 from the nonprofit agency and an additional $37,000 in unemployment benefits. She made more than $68,000 in restitution before going to jail.

Assault case

A Gloversville man was sentenced to seven years in prison in April for assaulting a man the same night the victim was stabbed to death in 2010. Derrick R. Paul was accused of assaulting and robbing 42-year-old Brian Morrison of Johnstown before the fatal stabbing. Paul was not accused of stabbing Morrison. Authorities have not determined who actually stabbed and killed Morrison.

Shooting rampage

Police in Herkimer stormed an abandoned building and killed a man who had gone on a shooting rampage the day before. The gunman, Kurt Myers, 64, killed four people at two businesses in Herkimer and the village of Mohawk, both in Herkimer County. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the killings “inexplicable.”

Two sentenced

in shooting case

A New Hampshire man who provided the firearm and a Johnstown man who fired it, severely injuring a woman at a Gloversville apartment, were sentenced to state prison this year. Joseph R. Miller, who authorities said recklessly fired the rifle in a Spring Street residence in 2012, injuring Danielle Schonfarber, was sentenced in March to 1 1/3 to four years in prison. Corey A. Wollard of New Hampshire, who brought the weapon to the apartment, was sentenced in May to two to six years in prison. Authorities said several people were in the apartment at the time of the incident.

Sno Kone Joe

vs. Mr. Ding-A-Ling

Gloversville had a taste of ice cream warfare this year. Joshua Malatino and Sno Kone Joe owner Amanda Scott , ice cream vendors, were charged by police in April with stalking and harassing the operator of a Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck. The controversy received national media attention, and Scott ended up losing her city vending permit. The saga didn’t end there. In July, the Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck operator, Philip N. Hollister, was charged with driving his ice cream truck while intoxicated and was fired by the business owner.

Coach’s rape case

A summer-league softball coach was sentenced to six years of probation after having sexual contact with a 15-year-old former player. John P. Johnson of Gloversville pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and sexual misconduct, misdemeanors. Police said Johnson engaged in a sexual relationship with the girl beginning when she was 15 and he was 60. Police said the two became involved with each other through a summer softball league where Johnson was the coach of the girl’s team.

Coffee caper

Fulton County Historian Peter Betz resigned in August after he was accused of stealing a coffee maker from the county building in a room down the hall from the historian’s office. He was charged in May with misdemeanor petit larceny. Police said Betz stole a $125 commercial Keurig coffee maker from the office building and replaced it with another one. The case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal in July.

Alleged ‘death ray’ plot

Two men were accused in June of trying to create a mobile device that could fire doses of X-ray radiation at people. Glendon Crawford of Galway and Eric J. Feight of Hudson were charged with conspiracy to provide material to support terrorists, authorities said. The two wanted to target their “death ray” at Muslims and “enemies of Israel,” authorities alleged. Crawford worked as an industrial mechanic for the General Electric Co., authorities said.

Man accused of killing mother

A man was arrested and charged in July with shooting and killing his mother at her Ephratah home. James F. Dibble was indicted on second-degree murder and other charges. Dibble’s mother, Gwenda L. Lisman, 58, was found July 1 by a neighbor. Authorities said Dibble shot his mother in the head with a rifle she borrowed from a neighbor to deal with a rodent problem in her garden. According to the indictment, the killing took place between June 30 and July 1. Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said Dibble and his mother may have been arguing over money and had a “tumultuous relationship.”

Husband accused of assault

A town of Mayfield man whose wife’s dead body was found in June 2012 in a remote section of Mayfield was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury in July, but not in connection with his wife’s death. Brent S. Alling Sr. was indicted on charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, failure to signal a turn, no seatbelt, and misdemeanor third-degree assault. He was accused of biting his now-deceased wife – 54-year-old Kathryn Jackson Alling – on the left forearm. Mrs. Alling’s naked, bruised body was found the morning of June 4, 2012, on remote Tyrrell Road by town employees collecting garbage. No one has been charged in the woman’s death.

Child porn case

Two Mayfield brothers, Richard and Robert Hastings, were charged in August with producing child pornography. Authorities said between July 27 and 29, Richard Hastings produced sexually explicit photographs of a child and posted some of them on a website. He also emailed some to an undercover investigator with Queensland Police Services in Australia, authorities said. According to an affidavit, an assessment of the victim by a therapist revealed the victim said the Hastings brothers touched her private area. The Hastings brothers’ court cases are still pending.

Officer accused of rape

A Johnstown police officer was accused of felony statutory rape in September. Patrolman Adam Schwabrow was accused of having sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl. He was placed on unpaid leave from his city police officer job and another job as director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office.

Soccer club treasurer charged

The former treasurer of the Fulton United Soccer Club was charged in October with stealing more than $13,000 from the club. Sandra Yost of Gloversville was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony. Police said from 2007 through 2011, she spent the money for personal use and fraudulently issued numerous checks to family members during her tenure as treasurer.?She could face up to seven years in state prison if convicted, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said.

Coming Tuesday: Top 20 local stories of 2013.