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Pulaski Double Murder Case Headed To Trial

OSWEGO, NY – The Hastings man accused in a double murder last year wants his case to go to trial.

James H. Steen Jr., 40, of 91 Hogsback Road, appeared briefly in Oswego County Court on Friday. He again rejected a plea deal offered by Oswego County District Attorney Don Dodd.

Steen is charged with four counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder.

He is alleged to have killed his estranged wife, Victoria Steen, 29, and her boyfriend, Charles Carr Jr., 21, in the Villager Apartments, Pulaski, on Sept. 12. He surrendered to police after a seven-hour standoff.

Oswego County Court Judge Walt Hafner noted that the defense has indicated they won’t hire a psychiatrist or psychologist to examine Steen and won’t have a report done; and neither will the prosecution.

“That’s correct, your honor,” replied James McGraw, Steen’s attorney.

“Alright. That’s good that we’ve accomplished that now,” the judge said. “Is this a case that needs to be scheduled for trial or do you want to discuss resolution, Mr. Dodd? I guess that’s what we’re here for today.”

Both lawyers indicated they were ready to proceed to trial.

Last month, Steen had been offered a deal of 30 years to life if he pleaded guilty to two counts of the second-degree murder.

“You’re not interested in working out something, even less than 50 to life?” the judge asked, noting the sentences might run consecutively.

“That possibility exists, your honor. But the best offer so far is 30 to life,” McGraw replied, adding his client wasn’t interested in taking a deal right now.

“Alright then, I’ll find a trial date and set it down for trial,” Hafner said, adding that it could be sometime in May.

Judge: Murder Suspect’s Statements Can Be Used At Her Trial

OSWEGO, NY – Statements made by Joyce Malone to police in the hours after her husband’s death can be used at her trial, a judge has ruled.

Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner denied defense attorney James Eby’s attempt to suppress his client’s statements.

The 69-year-old Tug Hill Road resident is charged with second-degree murder.

She pleaded not guilty of killing her husband, Ralph, 74, in their home on March 19 following an argument.

Five people testified at the Huntley Hearing on Aug. 2 to determine whether to suppress her statements.

Among them was sheriff’s office Investigator Eugene Sullivan III.

The investigator testified that he had read Malone her Miranda rights.

She continued to make some statements in regard to the case, he added.

Eby was unavailable for comment.

Malone is slated to be back in court Thursday morning, according to Assistant District Attorney Gregory Oakes.

Eby has had Malone examined by a psychologist and plans to use “extreme emotional disturbance” as a defense, Oakes said.

He is awaiting the results of that exam and will possibly have Malone examined by an independent psychologist in the coming weeks, Oakes said.

Pauldine Testifies In His Own Defense

OSWEGO, NY – The local businessman accused of sexual abuse took the stand Wednesday in his own defense.

When asked by Assistant District Attorney Donald Todd if he used his hand to masturbate the teen-age foreign exchange student he was hosting last fall, Anthony M. Pauldine replied, “Absolutely not.”

Wednesday was the third day of his trial.

Pauldine spent the entire day on the witness stand answering questions for nearly six hours, first from his attorney Anthony DiMartino and then Todd.

He was charged Oct. 26, 2009, with third-degree sexual abuse (a class B misdemeanor) and endangering the welfare of a child (a class A misdemeanor).

He allegedly subjected the boy, who was less than 17 years of age, to sexual contact on or about Oct. 18, 2009.

According to the alleged victim, he was lying on a massage table in Pauldine’s home when the businessman reportedly rubbed the boy’s buttocks and then put his hand on his penis.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Pauldine indicated that the boy ejaculated of his own accord, in response to a leg massage.

DiMartino asked Pauldine if he had any issues with the teen.

“It’s hard to describe,” Pauldine responded. “He appeared to be quiet distant, reserved.”

Asked about the boy’s clothing, Pauldine replied that “Some might say they were thread bare. I’d say they were comfortably worn.”

The youngster was also “very selective” about what he ate, he said.

There were also issues with the teen’s hair and his overall cleanliness habits, he added.

Pauldine also noted that he thought the student might be a better fit with another host family. He talked with the boy twice about whether he was comfortable at the Pauldine home or would rather be elsewhere, he continued.

DiMartino asked his client if he recalled Oct. 18, 2009.

“Sure do,” Pauldine responded.

He told of how he massaged the teen’s back following a workout in his home gym.

The youth reportedly had sore legs and asked Pauldine to massage them, the defendant testified.

Twice during the massage, the boy lifted his hips about 1.5 inches off the message table, Pauldine said.

He testified that he noticed the boy’s penis sticking downward out the right side of his shorts; and had apparently reached sexual climax.

Pauldine said he was surprised and shocked.

He saw a wet spot and said he asked the boy if he was alright, then went to get some tissues. He said he told the boy to go and take a shower.

Under cross examination by Todd, Pauldine testified that the boy’s hands were at his side during the massage.

Todd also asked about notes Pauldine said he wrote to the boy later that night and slipped under his bedroom door.

The letters dealt with whether the boy was happy or not there or wanted to live elsewhere.

The alleged victim said he never saw the letters.

“It’s your word and your word alone that these letters were created on Oct. 19,” Todd asked Pauldine, adding, “Isn’t it true they were written after (the boy) had left and you were being investigated?”

“Absolutely not,” Pauldine said.

During a phone call the boy made to Pauldine (that was recorded by police) the businessman at one point says he is sorry.

“You meant you were sorry for using your hand to masturbate (the boy)? Sorry for that?” Todd asked.

“Absolutely not,” Pauldine said.

Later, during the conversation, Pauldine said he wanted to meet with the boy, to talk in person.

“Because that would lessen the chance he’d disclose what you did to him?” Todd asked.

“That’s not true,” Pauldine replied.

The attorneys will make their final arguments today (May 20). A jury of four women and three men (one an alternate) will then begin deliberations.

Trial Postponed A Month For Fulton Man Accused Of Hurting Small Child

<br />Robby Guppy, from a police mugshot

Robby Guppy, from a police mugshot

Robby Guppy of Fulton has had his trial delayed a month.

The Fulton man is accused of beating his 18-month old daughter last year and of burning her with cigarettes because she would not go to sleep.

Guppy’s lawyer tells the Post-Standard the trial is now set for Aug. 24.

Our prior coverage:

Plans Under Way For 2009 Mock Trial Competition

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Hear ye hear ye.

All persons having business before this court may now draw near give their attendance and they shall be heard.

High school students in grades 9-12 will be hearing that phrase in the coming months in courtrooms throughout the Oswego County.

These students will be part of the 2008-09 Oswego County Mock Trial Program.

Preparations have begun in earnest around the county with every high school committing to field a team this year according to Thomas Benedetto, Esq. who is the county coordinator of the program for the local bar association.

“We’ve had great success with this program over the past few years,” he said.

Approximately 75 students participated in the tournament last year, with teams from APW, Central Square, Hannibal, Mexico, Pulaski, and Sandy Creek.

This year’s program promises to be even bigger and better.

“We have a commitment from each of the nine schools to field a team…that is simply magnificent,” Benedetto said.

This annual competition gives students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to further their understanding of the law, court procedures, and our legal system in a hands-on environment.

In the process, students work on honing their speaking, listening, reading, and reasoning skills.

This program is part of a statewide initiative sponsored by the New York State Bar Association.

The local program is organized by volunteers from the Oswego County Bar Association.

Benedetto credits the students, but also their teachers, as well as the attorney and judges who volunteer their time to work with the students.

“The students must take a lot of the credit, but I am especially grateful to all of the judges and lawyers who help make this program possible,” he said.

Students on each team dedicated about 5 hours per week, on average, from January through March working on preparing for the tournament.

The program starts with a county-wide assembly.

The students attend a welcome reception at the County Building, and then observe a mock trial exercise held at the County Courthouse.

This year’s event will be held on Dec. 12.

Each team is made up of eight or more student members.

They are paired with lawyers from the Oswego County Bar Association who volunteer their time to work with the students to help prepare them for the trial competitions which start in February.

Students must plan their own case based on the guidelines in the materials provided by the law, Youth and Citizenship Program of the New York State Bar Association.

On average each team has 5 or more trials before one team will ultimately be crowned county champs.

The winning team receives scholarships from finds donated by the Oswego County Bar Association, as well as several area law firms, attorneys and individual supporters.

“I know from speaking with many of the students over the past few years who have participated that they find it not only challenging, but very enjoyable and rewarding. I’m so very ecstatic that the school officials regard this program so highly,” Benedetto said.

Teams are filling up fast, so all students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to sign up.

However, students from Phoenix, Fulton and Oswego are especially needed so that those schools will be able to compete this year.

Interested students should speak with their school’s mock trial advisor, or high school principal, for more information.

Wanted: Motivated High School Sstdents

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Bar Association is encouraging students in grades 9-12 to compete in the 2008-2009 Mock Trial Tournament by joining their high school team.

This annual competition gives students the opportunity to further their understanding of the law, court procedures, and our legal system in a hands-on environment.

In the process, students work on honing their speaking, listening, reading, and reasoning skills.

This program is part of a statewide initiative sponsored by the New York State Bar Association’s Law, Youth and Citizenship program.

“I am impressed every year with how well this program has prospered,” said Thomas Benedetto, Esq., who coordinates the program for Oswego County. “The students work very, very hard, so they deserve a lot of the credit. But I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank all of our area school officials, as well as the individual teachers, attorneys and judges, all of whom work so tirelessly to help the students prepare for the actual tournament.”

Teams dedicate 5-10 hours per week, on average, to prepare for the local tournament which runs from January through March.

Benedetto also indicated that watching the students’ progress throughout the season reinforces the importance of this worthwhile program.

“It is extremely gratifying to watch the students improve their speaking, thinking and listening skills as they became more comfortable and experienced in a courtroom setting.  These tools undoubtedly help them to become better thinkers and communicators, and will assist them throughout life in any career path,” he said.

Approximately 75 students participated last year, with teams from Mexico, Hannibal, Central Square, Pulaski, Sandy Creek and APW.

Most teams will have some returning students.  Therefore, Benedetto expected that the ante will once again increase on the level competition.

Despite the success of last year’s program, Benedetto stated that there is still room for improvement and a chance to see the program grow.

“I anticipate there will be ongoing discussions with all of the school superintendents, principals and school advisors over the course of the next several weeks and months to make sure that we are providing a quality program,” he said. “But, I’d like to see a team from every high school.”

He stated that his number one priority is the students.

“I want to make sure that every student in Oswego County has a chance to participate, so that they may enjoy and experience all of the benefits and opportunities that this unique program has to offer,” he said.

Teams, made up of eight or more members, are paired with legal mentors from the Oswego County Bar Association who volunteer their time to work with the students to help prepare them for the trial competitions, which start in February.

Students must plan their own case based on the guidelines in the materials provided by the Law, Youth and Citizenship Program of the New York State Bar Association in late November.

Students will also attend an opening ceremony at the Oswego County Courthouse, tentatively planned for Dec. 5, to witness a mock trial presentation.

All students in grades 9-12 are eligible to join.

Students are encouraged to speak with their school’s Mock Trial Advisor, high school principal, or may contact Benedetto for more information at 349-3360.

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