Potential jurors reported to Schoharie County Court yesterday morning in the first day of Cal Harris’ third murder trial. Nearly 90 people reported to court at 9:30 a.m. The judge alerted potential jurors that the trial is expected to last six to eight weeks. According to reports, more than half of the room approached the bench to offer an excuse as to why they are unable to serve on the jury. At the end of the day, four people were selected to sit on the jury: two men and two women. Potential jurors were asked if they knew anything about the case and if they knew anyone on the list of more than 115 witnesses. Court officials predict jury selection will take three to five days. Jury selection continues today at 10 a.m. at Schoharie County Court. And an appellate court will judge today on whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for opening and closing arguments and the verdict.
The speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, has been taken into custody by the FBI on alleged corruption charges. Silver was taken into custody before 8 a.m. yesterday in Manhattan. The charges reportedly stem from payments he allegedly received from two law firms: one that specializes in asbestos litigation and another that specializes in seeking reductions of New York City real estate taxes. The complaint alleges that Silver used the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income. Silver has been the speaker of the Democratic controlled Assembly for more than two decades, and his arrest sends shock waves through Albany at the beginning of a new legislative session. Silver was released on $200,000 bail yesterday afternoon. If he is convicted, he could face a sentence of up to 100 years in prison.
Yesterday, Binghamton Mayor Rich David launched a new phone app called “City of Binghamton” to make service requests easier. Citizens can use the free app for iPhones and Androids to submit common requests like snow plowing, graffiti removal, pothole repair and traffic issues. GPS technology can track where the request was sent from. Residents can also send in photos along with the requests. David said he hopes this will help improve transparency and communication between residents and city services. David said residents should still call 911 if they have an emergency.
An Endicott man accused in a village stabbing and attempted bank robbery has been indicted on 17 charges in Broome County Court. Lonell Barnes pleaded not guilty Jan. 14 to all counts tied to the mid-November incident, which started in front of the Washington Deli on Washington Avenue. He remains held in the Broome County jail, while awaiting further court action. Endicott police said Barnes got into a dispute with the deli owner and an employee on Nov. 17, after they tried to get Barnes to leave the store because he was harassing customers. Barnes then stabbed the store owner in the arm and a woman walking in Washington Avenue. Police said Barnes next entered Citizens Bank on Washington Ave., and announced while waving a knife that he was robbing the bank. Barnes was chased by two police officers on foot and was eventually caught inside a North Street restaurant. Investigators said all of the incidents involving Barnes were random acts, with no apparent connection between the victims. On Jan. 9, a Broome County grand jury handed up a 17-count indictment against Barnes that charged him with felony counts of second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, attempted first-degree robbery, and more.
UFC light heavyweight champion and U-E grad Jon Jones says he’s still being tested and receiving counseling after testing positive for cocaine in December. Jones spoke about the incident in an interview with Fox Sports 1 that aired last night. In the interview, he said he underwent a 24-hour drug evaluation before he says doctors determined he did not need to undergo in-house treatment. Jones explained doctors randomly visit him on a weekly basis and administer drug tests. And during those visits he also receives counseling from those doctors. As for why Jones did cocaine so close to defending his UFC title, he said he has no excuse. In the end, the Endicott native offered an apology to his fans.
A jury found 26-year-old Nigel Saunders guilty in a verdict given yesterday evening. Saunders was arrested in connection to murder and assault crimes which resulted in the death of 23-yearold Jordan Dordell, and the assault of his pregnant fiancé. After 6 days of testimony, the jury deliberated for just over three hours before reaching a verdict. Sentencing for Saunders is scheduled for March 27 at 9:30AM.
A crash on Reynolds Road sent one person to the hospital yesterday afternoon, according to Broome County Dispatch. It happened right across the street from the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City at about 2:30 p.m. The road was blocked off for a short time while crews cleaned up the two-car accident. Authorities on scene said the injuries were minor.
Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Anti-Poverty Opportunity Agenda, a 10 point plan to combat poverty and fight inequality. The plan includes raising the statewide minimum wage in 2016 from $9.00 per hour to $10.50. He also promised to double funding for the Urban Youth Jobs Program, and invest millions into initiatives to fight hunger and homelessness. According to Cuomo, he wants to aid programs that provide housing to those in need. He said the initiative, called the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program, will award grants through a competitive process, with priority given to nonprofits with state contracts that provide direct services in high-need communities.
One man is dead after being struck by a vehicle in Susquehanna County according to Pennsylvania State Police. Gregory Jones of North Carolina, was pronounced dead at the scene. It happened at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday on Guiton Road in Middletown Township. Jones was driving a Dodge pickup truck and hauling a trailer, and got stuck while trying to go up a steep hill covered with snow and ice. A John Deer Grader was sent to help Jones get up the hill, but the machine slipped while it was in park. The machine hit and killed Jones, who was standing in between the grader and the truck. The crash is still under investigation.