City Police: Witness abducted, choked and threatened

The City of Cortland Police Department (Photo: Provided)

A city man and his friend were arrested over the Christmas holiday for kidnapping, choking and threatening to kill a witness.

Donavin M. Fink Jr., 19, of 165 Homer Ave, Apt. 2, and Devin M. Hines, 19, of 476 Buffalo Hill Road, Caroline, are both facing multiple felonies after they abducted an 18-year-old man from his city home, according to city police.

The abducted man was a witness to Fink’s last arrest for assaulting a different 18-year-old on Dec. 11 near the corner of Clinton and North Greenbush Streets, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.

“They abducted him and just terrorized him,” Strangeway said.

The kidnapped man had observed Fink and Austin Marshall, 19, of 3747 Allen Drive, Cortlandville, assault an 18-year-old attempting to sell marijuana, breaking the man’s nose, according to police. The man gave a statement to police, Strangeway said.

Fink and Marshall were arrested after the Dec. 11 attack, charged with misdemeanor, third-degree assault and scheduled to appear in City Court on Dec. 21, according to a news release.

Fink was on probation for a 2017 third-degree robbery conviction and a new conviction on a criminal charge would violate his probation, according to Cortland County Court records and state penal law. Fink could be resentenced to up to seven years in prison if convicted, according to state law.

Two days before his Dec. 21 court appearance, Fink and Hines entered the witness’ Pomeroy Street residence without permission, choked the man and threatened him with a knife, according to city police.

Fink tied the man’s wrists together with a cord while Hines backed a white Dodge Durango up to the man’s front door, according to a news release. Fink forced the man into the SUV and covered his eyes, nose and mouth with a piece of clothing, police said.

Hines began driving to a camper in Slaterville, Tompkins County that he uses as his residence, while Fink tied a chain around the 18-year-old’s ankles, Strangeway stated.  

Fink told Hines to pull over along a deserted dirt road, forced the 18-year-old out and threatened to tie the chains that bound the man’s legs to the back of the Durango to drag him down the road, according to the statement. Fink then forced the man back into the Durango and Hines continued driving to Slaterville, Strangeway said.

When they arrived in Slaterville, Fink and Hines led their captive through the woods and pushed the bound man into a creek, according to police. Then they brought the 18-year-old into Hines’ camper, untied him and threatened to kill him if he ever gave a statement against Fink to police again, Strangeway said.

The next day Hines drove the 18-year-old home and the man went into hiding at a friend’s home, he said. His friend convinced the man to report his abduction and assault to police on Monday, according to the release.

The man suffered bruising on his torso but did not require medical attention, Strangeway said.

Fink was charged with five felonies: first-degree burglary, second-degree kidnapping, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree conspiracy and intimidating a witness. He was also charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and second-degree menacing, misdemeanors. Fink was arraigned and sent to the Cortland County Correctional Facility on $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Hines was charged with three felonies: first-degree burglary, second-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arraigned and sent to the Cortland County Correctional Facility on $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

A review of The Cortland Voice archives reveals Fink was previously arrested for felony assault in March 2017 — a case separate from his 2017 robbery conviction. In the assault case, Fink, then 17, was accused of forcing a man from his vehicle and stabbing him several times with a knife in his back and thigh. The results of that case in Cortland County Court were not available through County records.

Witnesses to portions of the Dec. 19 abduction are cooperating with police and the Cortland Police Department urges anyone with additional information to call the station at (607) 753-3001.