May 20, 2016
District attorney seeks re-election
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben announces his re-election bid for the office Thursday outside the Cortland County Courthouse.
Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben announced his bid for re-election Thursday morning on the steps of the County Courthouse.
“For the past 7 1/2 years it has been my honor and privilege to represent you as your district attorney and represent you and the county,” said Suben, aDemocrat.
Lawyer Patrick Perfetti, a Republican, announced hiscandidacy last week. They are the only two announced candidates for the Novemberelection.
During his announcement, Suben decried the validity of statistics, saying that according to figures, crime is down nationally, statewide and in Cortland County. Yet six people in Cortland County were charged with homicides between December 2014 and December 2015.
Of those six homicides, two have been adjudicated and one is scheduled for trial. Those three are: Michael S. Hammond II, Randy Wilkinson and Daniel Haynes III.
Hammond pleaded guilty in January to murdering Amie R. Leland in May 2015. He is serving 20 years to life.
Wilkinson, found guilty of murder by a jury on May 9, will be sentenced on June 14 for fatally beating and stabbing Terry Walker, 36, of Syracuse, in December 2014.
Haynes pleaded not guilty in December 2015 to all the charges related to the death of his 6-year-old daughter, Alexia Haynes, in a car crash. His trial is set for August.
The county also leads the state in methamphetamine lab arrests.
“There are laws in place and we enforce those laws,” Suben said. “You’re hearing an awful lot now about interventions and treatments and we encourage people to get treatment for their addictions.”
“What we are trying to do is stay ahead of the crime and the increasingly serious crime and threats that are facing us every day,” Suben said.
Perfetti said this morning he thinks the county’s Drug Treatment Court should be expanded.
Suben said it matters tohave someone in office who can secure convictions andtrain prosecutors and support staff.
Suben highlighted instances in which he got convictions at trial. Among them:
l Patrick West in October 2009, who beat a 29-year-old man to death — the incident that led to Suben’s first case as district attorney occurred on New Years Day, five hours after he took office.
l Randy Thibeault in March 2009, who strangled his wife, Wendy.
l Derek Jones in July 2010, who robbed a 25-year-oldwoman and threatened to kill her.
l Keith Pottorff in March 2013, who used rope and plastic bags to asphyxiate his wife, Janet.
“We have a lot of work to do here, and Cortland County must have an experienced leader with a record of success to continue this work,” Suben said.
Suben also addressed his having acted in pornographic films in the 1970s, which he had lied about in 2012 prior to winning reelection. He said he lied to protect his family from the humiliation of “stupid stuff” he did 45 years ago.
“I acknowledge what I did and accept full responsi-bility for it and I’ve askedfor forgiveness,” Suben said. “I’m human. Humans makemistakes.”
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