District attorney: "Meaningful crime" increasing in Cortland County

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The overall crime rate in Cortland County is decreasing, according to Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben.

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But what Suben calls “meaningful crime”–including burglaries, drug-related activity and violent crime–has been increasing since 2014.

“The meaningful crimes that affect the quality of our lives in this community are way up,” Suben recently told Cortland County legislators.

For instance, drug-related crimes have increased in recent years, Suben said.

“A lot of it has to do with excellent police work,” he said. “We see the kind of people who are using these drugs, and they are increasing.”

The district attorney’s office also has five pending homicide cases, three of which were opened in 2015.

Most notably is the case of Michael S. Hammond II, who faces a charge of second-degree murder in the May death of 16-year-old Amie Leland.

In April, police charged Daniel Haynes III, of Virgil, with vehicular homicide in a drunk-driving accident that resulted in the death of his 6-year-old daughter.

More recently, a Marathon man was charged with vehicular manslaughter in a July drunk-driving crash that killed a Binghamton area woman who was riding a motorcycle.

Suben says defense counsels in the recent homicide cases have asked the district attorney’s office to hold off on indicting their defendants in order to give them time to “digest the voluminous materials” that prosecutors have given them.

“We are very much in control of this situation, and because of the nature of these charges and the strong position that we’re taking, they want the time to really consider their options before we indict it,” Suben said.

Two cases from 2014 are also still working their way through the Cortland County court system.

Randy Wilkinson was arrested in December in the fatal stabbing of a Syracuse man in Cortland.

A fatal crash in October of 2014 led to the arrest of Tyler Bloodgood, of Moravia, who faces charges including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Bloodgood was texting and driving at the time of the crash, Suben said. He was indicted in May.

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