Three arrested for South Avenue assault

CORTLAND– Three residents of the same South Avenue apartment building are facing misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault after police say they beat a man about 8 p.m. Monday in the street in front of their residence.

The man was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, treated for several non-life-threatening injuries, and released, said city police Lt. Michael Strangeway this morning.

“The investigation is ongoing and it’s possible there’s another arrest pending,” Strangeway said, adding officers estimate four people were involved in the assault.

Police arrested three for the beating last night: Jeremy Schultz, 34, of 8 South Ave. Apt 11, as well as Jonathan Jeffrey, 22, of 8 South Ave. Apt. 5 and Bettyann Rogers, 35, of 8 South Ave. Apt. 5.

Schultz was arguing with a 45-year-old man and then began to punch and kick him, according to city police. Jeffrey and Rogers joined the fight and also started to kick and punch the man alongside Schultz, police said.

Three city officers responded to the fight Monday night and were able to separate the crowd of about 20 that gathered, sided with either the beaten man or the three arrested and vehemently argued their chosen position. Those who sided with the beaten man gathered on the South side of the street under the portico of the former rail station and those who sided with Schultz, Jeffrey and Rogers were at the stoop of 8 South Ave.

A neighbor who witnessed part of the fight, Melissa Drake of 4 ½ South Ave., told the Cortland Voice she was alerted to the altercation when her dog started whimpering. Drake said she looked outside her apartment and saw “a bunch of people” kicking the man in the back of the head and neck. One man, who is white with curly, black hair, fled the scene, Drake said.

At Schultz’s arraignment this morning, City Judge Elizabeth Burns noted Schultz’s lengthy criminal history.

“He doesn’t have the best record I’ve ever seen,” Burns said.

“But I haven’t been in trouble in a long time,” responded Schultz, adding his last arrest was in 2015. “Since I’ve been in Cortland I haven’t been in trouble.”

Schultz told Burns he had planned to return to Monticello, Sullivan County, where his family is from before he was arrested on the assault charge. Burns gave Schultz a stern warning that she would issue a warrant against him if he did not report to Alternatives to Incarceration, an arm of the County Probation Department, as directed.

“Mr. Schultz, you aren’t to go anywhere outside my jurisdiction,” she said.

Schultz assured her he would remain, saying, “I’m not a knucklehead.”

Burns noted at Rogers’ arraignment that her arrest could count as a violation of her probation. Rogers said she understood and noted she only had four months left of probation. It was unclear Tuesday what Rogers was on probation for.

Jeffrey, who came to court with his right arm in a cast, told Burns he had been out of work since he broke his arm. Jeffrey said he plans to return to work on light duty soon.

“Well, maybe if you go back to work you’ll have less time to spend with me,” Burns said, noting Jeffrey has another harassment charge pending in a separate case.

Jeffrey is the only one of the three employed, according to their statements in court.

Schultz, Rogers and Jeffrey were all released at arraignment with instructions to report to ATI and return at 1 p.m. May 15 to City Court. An order of protection was also issued against them.