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Real-Time News for Syracuse and Central New York

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    Susan Powell was 28 when she was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, after she failed to show up for her stockbroker job.

    Missing Mom.JPGView full sizeThis undated picture made available by Hardman Photography shows Susan Powell. Powell, a 28-year-old mother of two young children, who was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009.

    DELTA, Utah (AP) -- Nearly two years after a mother vanished, her friends and family are waiting to learn whether her case may have seen a major break after authorities discovered human remains during their latest search for clues in the Utah desert.

    Susan Powell was 28 when she was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, after she failed to show up for her stockbroker job. The case has cast a harsh spotlight on Powell's husband, who remains the only person of interest but has never been arrested or charged.

    It wasn't immediately known if the remains found Wednesday belonged to Susan Powell, or if they were even female. Authorities planned to resume their investigation Thursday morning.

    "It's a game of patience at this point," West Valley City Sgt. Mike Powell said. "We need to slow down a little bit and identify what it is we found."

    Meanwhile, friends and family waited and prayed.

    Kiirsi Hellewell, a close friend of the missing woman, said the discovery of remains brought a sense of hope that the case might finally move forward but also sadness that she might really be dead.

    "It's always a mixture of emotions because we've been down this road before with the discovery of bodies and remains," Hellewell said. "It's like a seesaw because we also don't want to find out that she's dead."

    In May, speculation swirled that remains found in the desert about 50 miles southwest of Salt Lake City might have been those of Powell, but authorities later said it was a young adult male.

    Authorities have been searching since Monday in the area near Topaz Mountain in Juab County. The site is about 135 miles southwest of the location where Susan Powell was last seen where she lived in West Valley City.

    Last month, investigators searched mine shaft-dotted mountains near Ely, Nev., and later served a search warrant at the Puyallup, Wash., home that her husband, Josh Powell, shares with his father, seizing computers and journals.

    This latest search is in an area popular for gem and rock hunters. Police have said Powell's husband liked to rock hunt in the area.

    "From the very beginning he clearly indicated he had been in and around the area," said Sgt. Powell, who is not related to the family of the missing woman.

    Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, expressed doubt that the remains belonged to his daughter. He said that would mean whoever took her would have had to dump her body in the middle of a high desert freezing winter where the ground would have been covered in snow and frozen solid.

    "We're just waiting," he said Wednesday evening.

    Josh Powell didn't return telephone calls. He believes his wife ran off with another man and has told police he left her at home about 12:30 a.m. on that Dec. 7 to go winter camping in freezing temperatures with their young sons - then 4 and 2 - about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. The 4-year-old confirmed the trip to police.

    Over the past weeks, the case has taken salacious turns as family members on both sides sparred over truth and fiction, and accusations of sex and lies.

    Josh Powell's family claims Susan Powell was sexually promiscuous, emotionally unstable and suicidal. They were offering as proof several diary pages from the missing woman's teenage years. Her family says the entries were written by a young girl still growing up and have no bearing on her disappearance. They got a temporary order in a Washington court prohibiting the Powells from distributing them.

    Josh Powell has mostly remained quiet throughout the investigation, and police say he hasn't been cooperative.

    But in a string of national television interviews in August, Josh Powell denied having anything to do with her disappearance.

    In another strange twist, Steve Powell, Josh's father, said he and Susan Powell were falling in love and even implied a sexual relationship had occurred.

    Susan's father, Chuck Cox, said the allegations are false. He claims it was Steve Powell who initiated unwanted sexual advances, and that his daughter had no interest in her father-in-law.

    The feuding between the two sides got so heated that a court commissioner in Washington state ordered Chuck Cox and Josh Powell to keep 500 feet apart.


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    The agency plans to have the first windmill built at Fredonia's Exit 59 sometime next year.

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The state Thruway Authority plans to put five wind turbines along the highway in western New York to power some of the agency's facilities.

    Thruway officials tell the Buffalo News that the medium-scale turbines will be on state property near the Lake Erie shoreline in Erie and Chautauqua counties, between Buffalo and the Pennsylvania border.

    The newspaper reports that the agency plans to have the first windmill built at Fredonia's Exit 59 sometime next year. Others are planned for Exit 57A in Evans, Exit 58 in Silver Creek and Exit 61 at Ripley, near the Pennsylvania line. Another would be at the agency's maintenance facility near Exit 60 in Westfield.

    The authority says up to $4.8 million has been budgeted for the cost of the five turbines.


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    See all of today's obituaries published in The Post-Standard

    o317626gooley.JPGEllen E. Gooley

    Ellen E. (O'Brien) Gooley, 87 years young, passed to the Lord peacefully surrounded by her family at her daughter Mary's home in Westvale, where she lived. A graduate of Cathedral High School and Central City Business Institute, she was a lifelong resident of the West-End. During her working career, she served as the personal secretary to Dr. Bartholomew O. Murphy and later at the New York State Developmental Center for Dr. Philip Swender. Her passions during the course of her life included playing the accordion, and any activity that included her children and grandchildren. Like her mother "Nellie" O'Brien before her, she enjoyed showing grandchildren the finer points of card playing. Their "high stakes" penny ante games provided lots of laughter for all over the years. At yearly excursions to Cape Cod, she was the presiding judge over the annual crab races on the beach. Over her lifetime, she was an active volunteer, helping many charitable activities for St. Brigid's, the AOH and many fundraising benefits for children and individuals with life threatening diseases. At the age of 86, she participated as a "shavee" raising funds for the 2010 St. Baldrick's Foundation in honor of her grandson, Colin Gooley, a cancer survivor.

    In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ellen's name may be made to the Food Pantry at St. Brigid & St. Joseph's Church, 318 Herkimer Street, Syracuse, NY 13204.

    » Read Ellen E. Gooley's full obituary on syracuse.com

    » View and sign Ellen E. Gooley's online guest book

    » See all of today's obituaries from The Post-Standard

    » Read local and national obituaries on syracuse.com

    Today's obituaries


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    Emilier Carrasquillo-Fuentes was recently returned from Massachusetts to face charges in August 2010 shooting. Watch video

    2011-09-15-dn-arraignment.JPGNancy Rodriguez-Walker, a Spanish language interpretor, translates for Emilier Carrasquillo-Fuentes, during his arraignment on a murder charge.

    Syracuse, NY - A former Syracuse man wanted in a Syracuse homicide was formally arraigned today in Onondaga County Court after being returned to town from Massachusetts where he was caught three months ago.

    Emilier Carrasquillo-Fuentes, 25, is facing single counts of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

    He's accused of acting with 15-year-old Jesus Carmona to kill Luis Quinonez-Osorio and to try to kill Yojan Ceballos in a shooting Aug. 21, 2010, outside the Mobil gas station in the 600 block of South Geddes Street.

    Authorities contend Carrasquillo-Fuentes shot Quinonez-Osorio, 25, of Shonnard Street, in the head, neck and torso with a .45-caliber handgun and that Carmona shot Ceballos, 25, in the back with a 9 mm handgun.


    Quinonez-Osorio died at Upstate University Hospital about 30 minutes after the shooting.

    Carmona pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and first-degree assault charges and was sentenced by County Judge Anthony Aloi to 10 years to life in prison. He was prosecuted as an adult because of the severity of the crime.

    Authorities said Carrasquillo-Fuentes, who previously lived on Oswego Street, disappeared after the shooting. He was caught when Massachusetts State Police and federal agents raided a home in Springfield June 15.

    Aloi ordered Carrasquillo-Fuentes held in jail without bail and adjourned the case to Oct. 28 for argument of motions. The judge scheduled a pretrial conference with Senior Assistant District Attorney Melinda McGunnigle and defense lawyer Paul Carey for next week.

    Read our previous coverage of this ongoing story.


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    The MS Nordlys, with 262 people on board, was evacuated after it caught fire at 9:20 a.m.

    Norway Cruise Ship Fire.JPGSmoke rises from the Norwegian cruise ship, MS Nordlys, one of the classic Hurtigruten ships alongside in Alesund in western Norway, Thursday Sept. 15, 2011 as firefighters and police attend.

    OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Two people were killed and at least nine injured on Thursday in a fire on a cruise liner operating on a popular route along Norway's craggy coast, officials said.

    Police said they received information that an additional four people were missing, but could not immediately confirm it. Nine people were taken to the hospital, two with serious burns and smoke injuries.

    The MS Nordlys, with 262 people on board, was evacuated after it caught fire at 9:20 a.m. (0720 GMT) before arriving in Alesund, 230 miles (375 kilometers) northwest of Oslo. More than 100 passengers were evacuated into lifeboats before the ship reached port.

    The remaining passengers and some crew left the vessel as smoke was still billowing from the burning ship. Hurtigruten ASA, the Norwegian operator of the ship, said eight of its crew were among those sent to hospital.

    Police said they sealed off parts of Alesund because of the heavy smoke.

    The MS Nordlys, traveling north from Bergen, is one of several ships that ply the Norwegian coast on the popular 1,500-mile (2,500- kilometer) cruise between the southwestern city and Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle near the Russian border.

    The line carries both tourists eager to see the spectacular western coast and locals from coastal cities and hamlets.

    Related links:

    » Two killed, several injured in Norwegian cruise ship fire [CNN]

    » Fire on Norway cruise ship: Hundreds evacuated on lifeboats before ship docks at Alesund [New York Daily News]


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    Rhison Williams, 32, said he saw flashing lights and believed it was the devil, Syracuse police said

    Syracuse, NY -- After Rhison H. Williams twice struck an unmarked police car with his pickup truck early Wednesday morning, he told the officers that he had been smoking PCP and when he saw their flashing lights, he “believed it was the devil.”

    A Syracuse police report gives these details:

    Officers first noticed the blue Chevrolet S10 pickup truck slowly driving down West Adams Street at 3:25 a.m. Believing that this represented someone looking to buy drugs, the officers followed in their unmarked cruiser as the truck made a loop, going south on South Salina Street, west on Taylor Street, north on Midland Street and northeast on West Onondaga Street.

    In the 300 block of West Onondaga Street, the driver, later identified as Williams, 32, of 201 Parkway Drive, stopped the truck in the driving lane and a woman approached the truck’s passenger door.

    Officers activated their lights, the woman stepped back about 10 feet and the truck slowly drove off. The truck turned back onto West Adams Street and when officers attempted to pull Williams over, Williams moved from his lane “rapidly directing his vehicle into ours,” police wrote.

    The truck made contact with the police vehicle, then jumped the curb and drove onto the sidewalk before coming in contact with the passenger side of the police vehicle again and then stopping.

    Williams refused to get out of the truck, grabbing hold of the steering wheel in an effort to keep officers from pulling him out. Williams told officers he was going to give the woman a ride when the officers turned on their lights. He told officers that even though he knew he was being pulled over by police, because of the lights, he thought it was the devil.

    Police noted that Williams appeared impaired by drugs and that there were two shotgun shells found in the vehicle.

    Williams was charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, and was cited for stopping in a driving lane, failure to comply and driving on the sidewalk, all traffic violations.


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    Here's what users, greats, and bluesdaddy49, had to say about the state to ban commercial vehicles from Onondaga Lake Parkway.

    2011-09-14-dl-bridge3.JPGNew York's Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it will ban commercial traffic on Onondaga Lake Parkway to try to stop trucks from striking this low railroad bridge.

    The state will ban all commercial vehicles from Onondaga Lake Parkway in response to a crash that killed four people a year ago when a Megabus slammed into a low railroad bridge there.

    The ban — the effective date has not been decided — will reroute 3,000 vehicles a day to Old Liverpool Road, a state Department of Transportation official said.

    The state also is installing a laser detection system that would be tripped by too-tall trucks heading toward the bridge. Warning signs would flash and the police would be dispatched by the county 911 center. That is expected to be up and running this fall.

    Users of syracuse.com had plenty to say. Here's what one user, greats, had to say:

    "Duh!!!!! It took the deaths of 4 people to wake NYS up? This ban should have happened 10 years ago. Signs haven't worked, flashing lights haven't worked! BAN trucks and buses, a no-brainer!!!! FINALLY, someone had some sense."

    In response to that comment, user, bluesdaddy49, said:

    "You can't legislate stupidity. No matter how many warning signs or traffic devices are put in place on or near the Onondaga Lake Parkway, idiot drivers texting, talking on their cellphone or otherwise just being inattentive will once again be in the headlines."

    » Read the story and all the comments

    » Read what else greats and bluesdaddy49 had to say

    » Become a public blogger on syracuse.com

    » Connect with syracuse.com

    » Read all the Your Comments features


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    On '700 Club,' he says it's justifiable because the disease is 'a kind of death.'

    Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because the disease is “a kind of death.”

    During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.

    “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her,” Robertson said.

    The chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs the “700 Club,” said he wouldn’t “put a guilt trip” on anyone who divorces a spouse who suffers from the illness, but added, “Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer.”

    Pat Robertson Alzheimers.JPGPat Robertson

    Most Christian denominations at least discourage divorce, citing Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark that equate divorce and remarriage with adultery.

    Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson’s co-host, asked him about couples’ marriage vows to take care of each other “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health.”

    “If you respect that vow, you say ‘til death do us part,’” Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. “This is a kind of death.”

    A network spokesman said Wednesday that Robertson had no further statement.

    Divorce is uncommon among couples where one partner is suffering from Alzheimer’s, said Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association, which provides resources to sufferers and their families.

    “We don’t hear a lot of people saying ‘I’m going to get divorced,’” she told The Associated Press. “Families typically respond the way they do to any other fatal disease.”

    The stress can be significant in marriages though, Kallmyer said, because it results in the gradual loss of a person’s mental faculties.

    “The caregiving can be really stressful on a couple of levels,” she said. “There’s the physical level. There’s also the emotional level of feeling like you’re losing that person you love.”

    As a result, she said, it’s important for couples to make decisions about care together in the early stages of the illness, when its effects aren’t as prominent.

    Reaction

    » Pat Robertson on Alzheimer’s and divorce: It’s okay to leave [ajc.com]
    » Pat Robertson embraces modern morality [GetReligion.org]
    » No, Pat Robertson, it's not OK to divorce spouse with Alzheimer's [knoxnews.com]
    » Divorce and Pat Robertson’s Alzheimer’s Gaffe [Christian Post]


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    No. 19 ranking cites benefits that go beyond the paycheck.

    working-mother.JPG

    Ithaca, NY -- Cornell University ranked 19th on Working Mother magazine’s 2011 list of 100 best employers for mothers, the university announced Thursday.


    The magazine cited Cornell’s perks
    that go beyond the paycheck in its “2011 Working Mother 100 Best Companies” list. Among the benefits: formal mentoring initiatives and leadership programs; free undergraduate and graduate degrees for employees and tuition discounts for children; backup childcare and a directory of available workers looking for jobs pet sitting, house cleaning, tutoring kids and other tasks.

    Women make up 49 percent of managers and executives at Cornell, according to the magazine.

    Cornell previously made Working Mother’s top 100 list in 2006 through 2009.

    Among other local employers on the list: Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was praised for scholarships for children, mentoring programs and Women in Science network; and Verizon Communications, which allows employees to take paid time off to volunteer in local schools and use of flex time and telecommuting.

    » Jobs at Cornell


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    Police said the victim lost a chunk of skin the size of an egg.

    From the Associated Press:

    BUENA PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities in Southern California say a man bit off another man's eyebrow during a fight at a house party, chewed it up and spat it out.

    The Los Angeles Times reports that 29-year-old Luis Miguel Aguilar was arrested Monday after he got into a fight with a 41-year-old man at a party Friday night.

    Buena Park Police Cpl. Andy Luong says the man lost "a pretty good chunk" of skin and hair on his face, an area about the size of an egg. The man will require reconstructive surgery. His identity has not been released.

    Aguilar was expected to be arraigned Thursday on one count of felony mayhem.

    In other news:

    » Household objects you can eat to stay alive [Survival Food]

    » SpongeBob SquarePants detained by LAPD[Los Angeles Times]

    » Did Sarah Palin sleep with former NBA star Glen Rice?[New York Daily News]

    » Burger King and their awesome kids' meals toys [Club BK]


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    Nationally, 305 public and private K-12 schools received the honor.

    021210-gjw-peprally.JPGView full sizeFile photo of Eagle Hill Middle School students at a pep rally last year at the school in the town of Manlius.

    Manlius, NY -- Eagle Hill Middle School in the Fayetteville-Manlius school district today was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

    The program honors schools with high academic achievement or those that have made great strides in closing achievement gaps.

    Eagle Hill is among 19 public and private K-12 schools in New York state -- and the only school in Central New York -- to receive the honor this year. Nationally, 305 schools were honored.


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    Elisa Baker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, with aggravating factors that included desecrating the body of Zahra Baker, who wore a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after a struggle with bone cancer.

    AP100510137613.jpgView full sizeThis May 2010 photo shows Zahra Clare Baker, 10, getting a hearing aid during an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, pleaded guilty today to murdering the girl, who disappeared in 2010 and whose remains were later found by police in different locations in North Carolina.

    NEWTON, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina woman pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering her disabled 10-year-old stepdaughter, nearly a year after freckle-faced Zahra Baker's disappearance and death shocked communities here and in her native Australia.

    Elisa Baker, 43, entered the courtroom wearing a hot-pink jail jumpsuit and handcuffs. She sat between two defense attorneys and teared up before pleading guilty to second-degree murder, with aggravating factors that included desecrating the body of Zahra Baker, who wore a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after a struggle with bone cancer.

    Elisa Baker also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the case, and to charges unrelated to Zahra's death, including obtaining property by false pretenses and financial identity fraud.

    Prosecutors were presenting testimony from witnesses Thursday morning prior to Baker's sentencing.

    Adam Baker, Zahra's father and Elisa's husband, was present in the courtroom in Newton, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Adam Baker, who came to the U.S. with his daughter after meeting Elisa online, faces multiple criminal charges of his own, although none are related to his daughter's death.

    Elisa Baker's guilty plea comes almost a year after Zahra was reported missing from her home in Hickory. Initially, she and Adam told police they believed their daughter had been kidnapped, but that story quickly unraveled as police arrested Elisa and charged her with forging a ransom note.

    Not long after her arrest, Elisa Baker began cooperating with police searching for the girl, according to warrants unsealed in the case. She told police that Zahra had been dismembered, and led them to some of the girl's remains at sites in Catawba and Caldwell counties. She told police that Adam Baker helped scatter the remains, but cell phone records showed he was in different locations on the days when Elisa said Zahra's body parts were disposed of.

    Zahra's death was caused by "undetermined homicidal violence," medical examiners said in documents.

    Missing Girl Killed.JPGView full sizeElisa Baker looks on during a court appearance in Newton, N.C., Monday.

    An autopsy was done even though authorities hadn't recovered many bones, most notably the girl's skull, months after she was reported missing. Several bones showed cutting tool marks consistent with dismemberment.

    The case revealed Elisa Baker as a woman with a troubled past, constantly shifting addresses and staying one step ahead of bill collectors and county social service agencies investigating reports of child abuse. The Associated Press found that she has been married seven times, including several overlapping marriages.

    Those who knew Elisa described her as an attractive high school student who became manipulative, cunning and insecure, struggling with obesity.

    By the time she met Adam, she had largely detached herself from society, immersed in an online world of assumed identities and grandiose stories about her past, according to records and friends.

    Related links:

    » Many new details of Zahra's death revealed in Elisa Baker's plea [WISTV]

    » Baker case may be county’s biggest [The Observer News Enterprise]

    » Elisa Baker to serve 14-18 years; police say Adam not involved [Hickory Daily Record]


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    There were 54 tickets handed out for speeding in a school zone, Manlius police said.

    2011-05-26-dn-police.JPGManlius police wrote 54 tickets for speeding in a school zone Wednesday.

    Manlius, NY -- Manlius police wrote 54 tickets for speeding in a school zone Wednesday as part of the national “Safe Routes to School” campaign.

    The department stationed officers from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday in six school zones in the town with orders to enforce all vehicle and traffic laws, the department said in a news release today.

    The department informed the public ahead of time of the ticketing effort, and even handed out fliers Sept. 1 to motorists traveling in school zones. In all, officers handed out 69 citations for traffic infractions in school zones on Wednesday.


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    U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says SU has become a national leader in energy efficiency innovation.

    2010-07-09-db-Syracuse1.JPGSyracuse University, shown on a hazy July day, today won a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help recruit and train engineers who focus on energy efficiency.

    Washington -- The U.S. Department of Energy plans to award Syracuse University a $1.5 million grant to recruit and train a new generation of engineers who specialize in manufacturing and energy efficiency.

    SU will spend an additional $250,000 of its own money to expand an existing program at its Industrial Assessment Center, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who helped advocate for the grant.

    SU was among only 24 such university-based centers nationwide selected to receive the federal support, Schumer said. The center trains undergraduate and graduate-level students in manufacturing efficiency, industrial processes and energy assessment procedures.

    “This only confirms what we already knew: that Syracuse University is on the cutting edge of energy efficiency innovation,” Schumer said today.

    “I applaud the Department of Energy for selecting Syracuse for this exciting opportunity and for making this important investment in Central New York," the senator said. "This training program opens the door to good-paying jobs for thousands of students, all while providing a boost to the local economy and clean-energy projects.”

    SU's center graduates 10 to 15 students per year. The new federal support will allow the center to educate and train 75 students over the five-year grant period.

    SU's Industrial Assessment Center also provides free energy audits for small and medium-sized companies. So far, those audits have saved companies an average of $60,000 per year at each manufacturing site, according to SU.

    Contact Washington correspondent Mark Weiner at mweiner@syracuse.com or 571-970-3751.


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    Defense claims Denys Almeida was justified in stabbing Alexis Madera-Duenas; prosecution claims victim was "butchered."

    Syracuse, NY - The prosecuting and defense lawyers today agreed Denys Almeida killed Alexis Madera-Duenas by stabbing him 33 times in a fight last year.

    But that's about all they agreed on.

    Defense lawyer George Hildebrandt contended Almeida acted in self defense after Madera-Duenas attacked him with a 14-inch knife. He urged a County Court jury to acquit his client.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Doran contended Almeida "butchered" Madera-Duenas.

    "This was a massacre. This was not self defense," the prosecutor said as he urged jurors to convict Almeida.

    Almeida, 28, of Kellogg St., is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing that occurred Sept. 29, 2010, at Carmen Cajiga's residence at 922 Bellevue Ave. Almeida was Cajiga's former boyfriend and Madera-Duenas was her current boyfriend, authorities said.

    In his closing argument to the jury today, Hildebrandt claimed Almeida was at Cajiga's home trying to get back from her some of his clothing and other belongings. The defense lawyer claimed Madera-Duenas intervened, armed himself with the knife and was stabbed as Almeida grabbed the knife away and the two men struggled over the weapon.

    The lawyer contended Almeida followed Madera-Duenas down the stairs from the apartment because he feared the other man was heading to the basement to get a gun or another knife.

    Hildebrandt told the jurors that if a police officer had shot Madera-Duenas for being armed with the knife there would be no question the shooting was justified. He argued the jurors should conclude the same about Almeida's actions.

    Doran, however, painted a starkly different, much more sinister view of the case.

    "No one deserved to be to butchered the way Denys Almeida butchered Alexis," the prosecutor said.

    Noting no other weapons were found in the residence, Doran contended Almeida followed Madera-Duenas down three flights of stairs stabbing him repeatedly in the back all the way to the bottom as the victim tried to get away.

    The prosecutor noted the victim suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest when he got to the bottom of the stairs, couldn't get out the door and turned back toward Almeida. One of the stab wounds to the throat was inflicted with such force it penetrated almost to the victim's spine, Doran said.

    The prosecutor also disputed Hildebrandt's contention that 30 of the 33 stab wounds were superficial and not able to incapacitate the victim.

    The fact Almeida repeatedly stabbed Madera-Duenas with the knife even after the handle of the weapon broke off, coupled with pictures showing the extent of the victim's lethal injuries, should be sufficient proof that Almeida acted with intent to kill the victim, Doran said.

    If convicted of second-degree murder, Almeida faces a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison. County Judge Joseph Fahey was also going to allow the jury to consider a lesser first-degree manslaughter charge carrying a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.


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    Eighteen Syracuse police officers will be honored for their service in tonight's ceremony.

    Syracuse, NY -- Eighteen Syracuse police officers will be honored during the Police Benevolent Association's award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Summit Credit Union auditorium, 728 E. Genesee St.

    The officers are being honored for their accomplishments made during the 2010 calendar year, including interrupting a robbery at a South Avenue restaurant that turned into a standoff, a thwarted home-invasion type robbery and the seizing of illegal guns during several incidents.

    Officer Aylan Breidis will receive the Chief's Award for his actions Nov. 14, when he was directed to a Wilkinson Street address after 911 received a whispered call saying only "We're being robbed." Breidis opened the unlocked door and saw six people on the floor with a woman pleading for her life. He surprised the gunman, who ran. Information broadcast by Breidis led to the capture of two men.

    Capt. John Brennan and Officer John G. Mulherin are both being honored for their actions Aug. 17 in a holdup at Omani's Lemonade Heaven, 1206 South Ave. Mulherin was flagged down by a civilian and told of the robbery. Mulherin traded shots with the suspect. Brennan was the second person on the scene and not only backed up Mulherin but coordinated the scene to find the suspect hidden in a nearby building.

    Detective James P. Burns will receive the Wallie Howard Jr. Award for his work on a local segment of Project Deliverance, a U.S. Department of Justice project to combat Mexican drug organization sales. Burns work culminated with the arrests of 17 suspects and the seizure of more than 50,000 packets of heroin.

    Sgt. John Savage will receive the John C. Dillon Award for his actions in making an arrest of an armed man who was later charged with homicide.

    Officer Matthew Lalonde will receive the Jerome Slater Award for twice running down and arresting violent felons as they ran from the scenes of crimes.

    Officer Alvin Herrington will receive the PBA Valor Award for recovering three illegal handguns in separate incidents occurring within a month.

    Detectives Steven Stonecypher and Steven Kilburn will receive The Post-Standard Medal for solving five homicide investigations.

    Detectives Jeffrey MacCollum and Timothy Galanaugh will both receive the Meritorious Service Award for initiating an investigation into the illegal of illegal handguns from Cleveland, Ohio, to Syracuse,

    Officers Jason Welch, David Craw and Robert Ripley will receive the PBA President's Award for their actions in disarming and arresting a man involved in a fight outside a Syracuse bar.

    Officer William Foster will receive the Lifesaver Award for performing CPR on an unconscious, not breathing man who suddenly started breathing on his own and eventually recovered.

    Officers Robert Harrington, William Kittell and Donald M. Schultz will receive the PBA Merit Award handling their jobs in an exceptional and professional manner.



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    Farmer who leased land to gas driller says town violated state law.

    An Otsego County farmer filed suit today against the tiny town of Middlefield to overturn the town's ban on gas drilling.

    Jennifer Huntington said in her lawsuit that the town law that prohibits gas drilling violates her right to extract gas beneath her land. She claims that state law forbids municipalities from adopting laws that ban gas drilling. Huntingon has signed leases with Canadian drilling company Gastem to extract gas from her 300-acre farm.

    More than 20 municipalities in Upstate New York have enacted laws aimed at limiting or banning the controversial gas drilling practice known as hydrofracking. The suit against Middlefield is the first in the state to challenge drilling bans, said Huntington's attorney, Scott Kurkoski. He said he anticipates the case will ultimately be decided by the state's highest court.


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    Three programs to benefit

    Albany, NY -- Federal officials have OK’d New York’s request for $55.4 million in small business funding.

    The federal money will go to three programs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a release: The Innovate NY Fund, the Capital Access Program and the Bonding Guarantee Assistance Program.

    The first is a seed-stage equity fund to assist new businesses. It will get roughly $26 million.

    The second program will provide matching money for reserves to cover bad loans at financial institutions that loan to small businesses. Some $19 million is to go to that program.

    The bonding guarantee program will get approximately $10 million to help small businesses owned by women and minorities get bonding.

    Under the federal program, states must “demonstrate a reasonable expectation that a minimum of $10 in new private lending will result from every $1 in federal funding,” the release said.

    “With this new funding, we can spur new investment in small businesses, which is essential to creating the jobs that will get New York’s economy working again,” Cuomo said in the release.

    Contact Charles McChesney at cmcchesney@syracuse.com.


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    The West Genesee school district expects buses could be five to 10 minutes late getting home this afternoon because part of the road is closed.

    Camillus, NY -- West Genesee school district buses that travel along West Genesee Street, between Whedon Road and Scott Avenue, will be delayed this afternoon because of an unexpected road closure, the district announced in an email today.

    Camillus police notified district officials that the road was closed this afternoon because of a motor vehicle accident, transportation officials said.

    Buses that travel that route are being detoured onto side streets, which is making the drive home a little longer today. Delays are expected to be an additional five to 10 minutes.

    Buses left West Genesee High School at 2:10 p.m.; West Genesee Middle School buses which would be affected are expected to leave the school at about 3 p.m.

    The road is expected to reopen before students at Stonehedge Elementary get on the bus to go home this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.


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    Prosecutors had asked that Anthony be forced to pay $500,000 in costs prosecutors and law enforcement agencies incurred because she lied to investigators.

    Casey Anthony Parents.JPGCasey Anthony

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony must pay almost $100,000 in law enforcement costs for investigating the death of her 2-year-old daughter, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

    Circuit Judge Belvin Perry's ruling fell well short of the more than $500,000 that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in Orlando asked for during a hearing earlier this month.

    Prosecutors had asked that Anthony be forced to pay those costs since she lied repeatedly to investigators who were searching for her missing toddler, Caylee, in summer 2008. The judge said the costs should only cover the period when detectives were investigating a missing person and not the homicide investigation — a sum of $97,676.

    Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering Caylee. But the 25-year-old was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to authorities. She told officers a baby sitter had kidnapped the child. Authorities later learned the baby sitter never existed.

    Anthony has appealed her misdemeanor convictions. Her attorneys didn't respond immediately to emails seeking comment Thursday.

    Perry denied requests to pay for prosecutors' costs of pressing the murder charges and said they were only entitled to $50.

    He ordered that $61,500 be paid to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, that $25,837 be paid to the Orange County Sheriff's Office and that $10,283 be paid to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in central Florida. He left open the possibility that the Orange County Sheriff's Office could recover more money if the agency re-files expenses with greater details.

    Anthony is serving probation at an undisclosed location in Florida for unrelated check fraud charges. She is being hidden for her safety, since she received death threats after her acquittal.


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