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Real-Time News for Syracuse and Central New York
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    Robert K. Teachout, 58, was sentenced Tuesday in county court to 15 years to life in prison for the death of his father, Robert Teachout, 83.

    MATTYDALE, N.Y. -- A man who admitted to killing his father in a house fire has been sentenced after admitting to the crime and could spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Robert K. Teachout, admitted to arson that killed his father.Robert K. Teachout  

    Robert K. Teachout, 58, was sentenced Tuesday in county court to 15 years to life in prison for the death of his father, Robert Teachout, 83.

    Last fall Teachout admitted murdering his father in an intentionally-set fire that engulfed a Garden City Drive home in September 2013.

    The elder Teachout was found by responders at the bottom of the stairs Sept. 20 inside his house. He died of smoke inhalation. His son was found behind a closed bathroom door.

    Teachout underwent psychiatric exams to determine if he was competent to stand trial, said defense lawyer Mary Felasco. Doctors said he was.

    Douglass Dowty contributed to this report.


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    Robert K. Teachout admitted setting fire to his father's house with his father inside. The elder Teachout died.

    Robert K. Teachout.jpgRobert K. Teachout 

    Mattydale, NY -- A Mattydale man was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Wednesday for intentionally setting fire to his father's house with both inside.

    Robert K. Teachout, 58, then barricaded himself in the bathroom as the smoke killed his father, Robert Teachout, 83. The Sept. 20, 2013 fire happened at 225 Garden City Drive.

    The younger Teachout gave police three versions of what happened, but all included leaving candles unattended and going into the bathroom. The elder Teachout was found at the bottom of the stairs.

    Under law, the son was charged with murder because he admitted that he intentionally set the fire and it resulted in someone's death.

    It didn't help Teachout's cause that he blurted out after the fire: "Did I kill my dad?"

    Teachout underwent psychiatric exams to determine if he was competent to stand trial, defense lawyer Mary Felasco said. Doctors ruled he was.



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    Charges have been filed against owners of both dogs.

    hope in the woods 2.JPGA black lab, now named Hope, was found in the woods in the town of Lysander Monday near a cat who was frozen to death in a carrier.  

    SYRACUSE, NY -- Two black labs have been found starving and left out in the cold by their owners in the past two months.

    Apollo was found laying in the road in New Haven on Dec. 11 and Hope was found abandoned on the side of the road in Lysander on Monday. Both dogs were left outside in frigid temperatures and were extremely malnourished.

    Charges have been filed against owners of both dogs.

    New York State Police say Apollo was owned by Deena M. Rossi, 40, of North Jefferson Street in Mexico. Rossi was charged on Dec. 17 with torturing or injuring an animal, a misdemeanor for Apollo's condition. An investigation also found that Rossi owned another dog, which was found dead. Rossi was charged Jan. 19 with a second count of torturing or injuring an animal, a misdemeanor, police said.

    Rossi denies responsibility for the two dogs. Her lawyer claims they belong to her soon-to-be ex-husband.

    A Fulton couple faces several charges of abandoning Hope, who was found next to a carrier with a dead cat inside. The cat was frozen to death, according to Lysander Dog Control Officer Dan Boccardo

    William Lasher, 47, and his wife Robin Lasher, 48, of 872 Hannibal Street, Fulton, were charged with several animal cruelty charges, said SPCA Executive Director Paul Morgan.

    The couple faces two counts of abandonment of an animal, two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance for an animal, two counts of an act of cruelty to an animal and one count of unjustifiable death of an animal, all misdemeanors, Morgan said.

    William and Robin Lasher said they were going to bring the animals to the SPCA, but decided to drop them by the side of the road. The cat was alive when they left the animals, they said. Morgan said he doesn't know why they didn't bring the animals to the SPCA.

    apollo tuesday.jpgApollo, a 4-year-old lab mix, was found in December starved in New Haven. He is being cared for at the Paws Across Oswego County animal rescue and has gained 24 pounds. This photo was taken Tuesday. Apollo was adopted Wednesday. 

    Morgan says he believes Hope will recover and after she gains weight will be put up for adoption. Apollo, who has been cared for by Paws Across Oswego County animal rescue, was adopted on Wednesday.

    Rossi and the Lashers will face charges in court next month. Rossi is due in New Haven Town Court on Feb. 5 and the Lashers are due in Lysander Town Court on Feb. 25.

    All of the charges are misdemeanors and carry a punishment of up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

    Community members have taken to social media demanding justice for the dogs.

    More than 6,500 Apollo supporters have signed a petition asking the justices in the town of New Haven to give Deena Rossi the maximum sentence.

    Others have shared outrage and concerns on Syracuse.com. Here's a sampling of Syracuse.com user comments from Wednesday's story about Hope:

    CuseFan987 said:

    These two need jail time. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE LOCK THEM UP! Punishing people to the fullest extent sends a message that this kind of sick behavior is not going to be tolerated anymore. Or give them a fine and tell them they are no longer allowed to have pets and we will all continue to read stories like this. People really need to be held accountable for their actions.

    cicerojimmy said:

    Animals have unconditional love. Shame on these people. Need to have stricter laws. RIP dear kitty. Hope your buddy gets adopted by someone with a lot of love to share. My dogs have always "rescued" me.

    jennessee ted said:

    I hope the dog makes a full recovery and is loved for the rest of her days. I hope the people who abandoned them pay a price that will change them to become better humans.

    Read more comments here.

    What's your view? Leave a comment below.

    Sarah Moses covers the northern suburbs of Onondaga County and Oswego
    County. Contact Sarah at smoses@syracuse.com or 470-2298. Follow @SarahMoses315


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    Syracuse Police Officer Robert Boris describes his investigation into the fatal crash.

    Syracuse, NY -- A pedestrian was in the middle of a dark one-lane road wearing dark clothing when he was struck by Alicia Alampi's Jeep and dragged more than 100 feet to his death.

    That's according to Syracuse Police Officer Robert Boris, who testified this morning in the vehicular manslaughter trial against Alampi. Alampi is accused of killing pedestrian Robert BeVard in a fatal crash Dec. 13, 2013 and driving home.

    Boris described the section of Park Street where the crash occurred as a one-lane road that connected the area by Destiny USA to Buckley Road.

    BeVard was wearing blue jeans and dark blue Carhartt jacket when he was struck in-between the lane markings, probably toward the center of the lane, Boris testified. The area was poorly-lit with narrow shoulders.

    BeVard was drunk -- his blood-alcohol content was 0.25 -- and had marijuana in his system, the officer testified.

    But there was no evidence that Alampi attempted to swerve or slam on the brakes, Boris said in response to questioning by prosecutor Chris Bednarski. The impact to the center of the Jeep damaged the grille and caused the "JEE" letters to fall off. Blood splattered onto the hood, windshield, roof and under the front bumper.

    The driving conditions were good that night and the crash happened on a flat, straight section of road, Boris testified.

    The crash left a pool of blood and drag marks that indicated BeVard's body was carried at least 105 feet before coming to rest, Boris testified.

    All told, there was 152 feet from the pool of blood to his body. Going 30 mph, it would have taken about 3 1/2 to 4 seconds to travel that distance, Boris said.

    Defense lawyer Michael Spano suggested that BeVard may have been crouched in the road. But Boris said evidence showed the victim's head was at least a few inches above the Jeep's hood, given the blood patterns.

    Boris said his investigation could not answer some questions, such as:

    • What direction was BeVard walking? Was he trying to cross the road?

    • How fast was Alampi's Jeep going?

    • Which parts of BeVard's body struck the vehicle? (There's evidence that his hip and elbow made contact, but Boris couldn't say for sure.)

    Alampi is charged with driving drunk when she struck BeVard, then leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Alampi has told police she thought she hit a tire. An off-duty deputy with her, Dan Myers, suggested they drive back to Alampi's house. He later called a fellow deputy on his personal cell phone after seeing damage to Alampi's Jeep and finding blood on the vehicle.

    Wednesday, Bednarski played a videotaped police interview in which Alampi drops the name of prominent law enforcement officials.

    Alampi's trial continues before state Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti.


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    Blood from the fatal crash involving Alicia Alampi's Jeep hit the Cadillac CTS driven by off-duty sheriff's deputy Dan Myers, a detective said in court today.

    Syracuse, NY -- The Cadillac CTS owned by an off-duty Onondaga County sheriff's deputy was spattered with small drops of blood in the crash that killed pedestrian Robert BeVard, a Syracuse police detective testified.

    Deputy Dan Myers and Alicia Alampi were in separate vehicles on Dec. 13, 2013, the night Alampi's Jeep crashed into BeVard on Park Street. Alampi is accused of striking BeVard -- who was drunk in the roadway -- with her Jeep Grand Cherokee, then driving home.

    Detective Terry McGinn testified that small amounts of blood spattered onto Myers' Cadillac, which was following behind Alampi. The blood struck the grille, front engine compartment, hood and passenger side front.

    It was not easy to see; the detective used small markings in photos to show where the droplets landed.

    The blood on the cop's car was revealed near the end of testimony about the blood on Alampi's Jeep. McGinn testified that blood started in the front of the Jeep and spatter continued under the vehicle, as well as on top of the hood, windshield and roof.

    Earlier, Officer Robert Boris testified that the victim appeared to have been dragged more than 100 feet. BeVard was in the lane of travel, wearing dark clothing, drunk and had marijuana in his system, Boris testified.

    But Alampi made no attempt to brake hard or swerve before the collision, Boris testified.

    After the crash, Myers and Alampi returned to Alampi's house at the time on Surrey Lane, in Clay. There, Myers called another deputy on the deputy's personal cell phone after seeing the damage and finding blood on her vehicle.

    Alampi is facing vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal crash charges after tests showed she was drunk. Myers has not been charged.

    Testimony continues this afternoon.


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    Closing arguments are set to begin in the Alicia Alampi trial.

    Syracuse, NY -- The off-duty Onondaga County sheriff's deputy with Alicia Alampi the night she fatally struck a pedestrian on Park Street was not called to testify at her trial.

    Dan Myers was behind Alampi in another vehicle when Alampi's Jeep struck Robert BeVard, who was in the driving lane of Park Street after dark Dec. 13, 2013, authorities have testified.

    Alampi is charged with vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Myers has not been charged.

    Alampi's Jeep was found after her license plate fell off at the scene, a poorly-lit, one-lane section of Park Street linking the Destiny USA entrance to Buckley Road.

    Prosecutor Chris Bednarski rested his case Thursday afternoon. Today, the defense rested its case after calling an expert on accident reconstruction. Neither side called Myers to testify.

    After the crash, Myers and Alampi returned to Alampi's house at the time on Surrey Lane, in Clay. There, Myers called another deputy on the deputy's personal cell phone after seeing the damage and finding blood on her vehicle.

    Sheriff Gene Conway, who took office Jan. 1 and was previously DeWitt police chief, said he did not know whether Myers was disciplined in the aftermath of the December 2013 accident. His predecessor Kevin Walsh had repeatedly declined to comment on the case.

    Conway said off-duty officers would be expected to report accidents to authorities. The most efficient way to do that is to call 911, the sheriff said.

    Check back for more coverage following closing arguments, which are due to begin at 11:30 a.m.

    Reporter Jolene Almendarez contributed to this report.


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    The jury will soon decide whether Alicia Alampi is criminally responsible for the death of pedestrian Robert BeVard.

    Syracuse, NY -- Neither side in the Alicia Alampi trial chose to call as a witness the off-duty deputy with Alampi the night her Jeep struck and killed pedestrian Robert BeVard.

    But Dan Myers' name came up numerous times in closing statements today as the jury prepares to decide whether Alampi is guilty or not of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of the Dec. 13, 2013 fatal crash on Park Street. Both of those crimes could send Alampi to prison.

    The case rests on whether drunkenness caused the fatal crash and whether Alampi knew -- or should have known -- she hit a person.

    Myers was following behind Alampi in a separate vehicle and did not hit BeVard. He has not been charged and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has said that there's no "Good Samaritan law" in New York to charge him under.

    Defense lawyer Michael Spano argued that Alampi was not drunk when her Jeep struck and killed BeVard, who the lawyer contended was crouched in the middle of a dark road. She stopped, looked around and saw nothing before concluding she hit a tire or debris. She drove home.

    While saying he "didn't want to denigrate Mr. BeVard," Spano noted the victim was drunk, wearing dark clothing and walking in a lane of traffic through an area not built for pedestrians.

    "It doesn't require someone to be intoxicated for that accident to happen," Spano said.

    But prosecutor Chris Bednarski countered that Alampi must have been drunk after hours of drinking -- he counted three glasses of wine, a margarita and then more wine -- at Destiny USA. She made no attempt to swerve or skid before plowing into BeVard. The victim's head was at least the height of the Jeep's grille, if not higher, and Alampi presumably had her headlights on, Bednarski told the jury.

    Bednarski noted that Alampi failed sobriety tests performed hours later and registered a 0.12 blood-alcohol content -- above the legal limit -- nearly four hours after the crash. She also "swore like a drunken sailor" and never asked about the victim in a videotaped interview, the prosecutor said.

    "She must have seen something in the road," Bednarski told the jury. But when drunk, "a human being becomes a tire, a piece of debris."

    The prosecutor used Myers as an indication that Alampi was drunk enough to lose her inhibitions. He noted that Alampi had agreed to go home with her recent date after drinking at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill at the mall.

    For Spano, Myers came up as the one who suggested that Alampi drive home after the crash on Park Street.

    Referring to Alampi's police interview, Spano pointed to the conversation Alampi said she had with Myers at the scene.

    "She relied on Dan Myers," Spano said, about the decision to leave.

    Bednarski noted that nothing was presented at trial to determine whether that conversation at the scene really took place.

    He also questioned Myers' motivation when he called a friend and fellow deputy after arriving at Alampi's residence at the time on Surrey Lane in Clay. Spano suggested that the accident was reported as soon as they realized what had happened.

    Neither side attempted to explain to the jury why Myers did not testify.

    State Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti will give the jury final instructions this afternoon before deliberations begin. The jury will likely have only a short time to deliberate today before probably returning Monday.


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    The woman also faces other charges.

    HASTINGS, N.Y. -- A woman is charged with DWI after police say she crashed into a sign dedicated to a state trooper who died at the site in 2012.

    Mackenzie L. Fletcher, 27, is charged with DWI, speeding, failure to use a designated lane and not wearing a seatbelt, state police said in a news release.

    Officials said Fletcher was driving a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle east around 10 a.m. Jan. 27 on county Route 37 when she lost control on a curve.

    Amanda Anna.JPGView full sizeState police dedicate a sign in 2013 to Trooper Amanda Anna near the spot where she was killed in a crash while patrolling. On Tuesday, another crash destroyed the sign.  


    Her vehicle hit a guardrail and overturned, landing in a yard at 667 county Route 37, about 15 feet from a creek.

    She was taken to Upstate University Hospital in stable condition.

    The sign she destroyed was dedicated to Trooper Amanda Anna, who was killed when her patrol vehicle crashed in May 2012.

    Anna, 31, of Liverpool, lost control of her patrol vehicle on a curve the night of May 25, 2012. The Chevrolet Tahoe struck a guide rail and rolled several times.

    The sign honoring Anna was erected by the state police and the Badge of Honor Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.