January 7, 2009


Suspect in deadly assault free on $5,000 bail

Patrick West

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Patrick West of Cortland appeared in City Court today after being charged with assault in connection with the Jan. 2 death of a 29-year-old city man.

Staff Reporter

Reduced bail was continued this morning for the city man accused of a deadly assault.
In City Court this morning, Judge Thomas Meldrim decided to continue the $5,000 cash bail for Patrick E. West, 23, of 20 Riverview Ave., that he had reduced Friday.
West is accused of punching another man and leaving him lying on Rickard Street Thursday.James E. Adams, 29, of 44 Rickard St., Cortland died Friday evening at University Hospital in Syracuse.
West posted bail Monday at about 4 p.m. He had been held in Cortland County Jail on $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
West was charged Thursday with second-degree assault, a felony; and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
District Attorney Mark Suben has said new charges will be brought against West as a result of the fatality.
“He’s facing greater consequences,” Suben said this morning.
Suben had asked Meldrim this morning to reimpose the previous bail amount, but would not comment afterward on Meldrim’s decision.
An autopsy was conducted Saturday in Syracuse, but the results have not yet been released.
Suben has declined to speculate what the new charges could be, but said the case will soon go before a grand jury.
“I want to be sure of exactly what we’ve got,” Suben has said.
In a statement given to police, West claimed Adams bumped into him while walking along Rickard Street at about 4:30 Thursday morning.
Although West claimed to recognize Adams, he told police he did not know who Adams was at the time.
“I have seen this person somewhere before, but I don’t know his name and I never spoke with him before tonight,” West told police in a sworn statement.
Lt. Paul Sandy of City Police has said both men had been partying with family and friends for the holiday at separate locations.
West told police he had been at a party at his aunt’s Elm Street residence, then went to Palm Gardens Bar at Elm Street until about 2 a.m.
“I had about three drinks during the night and knew exactly what I was doing,” West told police of his condition that night.
According to West’s sworn statement, Adams first struck him in the back of the head after bumping into him. West then punched Adams once in the head, sending him to the ground. He told police he struck Adams in self-defense.
According to court papers, Adams was unresponsive at the scene and had a bloody nose.
Following fresh footprints in the snow, police found West at a house at 10 Riverview Ave., owned by Berne Hall. Both men were fighting when police arrived. Hall told police that West had entered without permission. Police found prescription pills in West’s pocket, which belonged to Hall.
West is being represented by Public Defender Keith Dayton.


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