The trial of an Elmira-area man accused of being the mastermind involved in the home-invasion and murder of a town of Carroll couple begins today in county court. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley... and, Public Defender Ned Barone will deliver opening statements in the double-murder trial of 34 year-old Davide Coggins. Foley says Coggins faces an 11-count indictement... which includes one-count of first-degree murder... and, several other second-degree murder counts. Coggins is the alleged ringleader of the home-invasion -- murder case -- in which four men allegedly went to the home of 66 year-old Gordon... and, 59 year-old Joyce Skinner... and, stabbed both to death in April of last year. The four then allegedly set the house on fire to cover up the crime. The third and final co-defendant in the case... Joshua McCormick... accepted a plea deal for two counts of first-degree manslaughter in the case... and, is expected to testify for the prosecution. Opening statements take place this morning... and, the prosecution is to begin presenting it's case this afternoon. Foley says it'll take about two-weeks to present his case.
A former north county man who was convicted by a Chautauqua County Court jury in July of first-degree manslaughter has received the maximum sentence. County Court Judge John Ward Monday sentenced 41-year-old Jason Wells, formerly of Fredonia, to 25-years in prison. He also got five-years post release supervision. Wells was convicted for the beating and stabbing death of 81-year-old Ruth Fisk at One Temple Square in February of 2010. District Attorney David Foley says he still feels "bittersweet" about the outcome of the case. Foley says the court heard from a member of the family before the judge imposed the sentence. He says he advocated for the family as well that the maximum term be imposed... and, it was. The sentencing of Wells is the start of a busy week at the County Courthouse in Mayville... since the David Coggins double-homicide trial gets underway this morning.
Jamestown City officials are going to look a possibly making parts of two city streets one-way due to traffic congestion... and, being too narrow for two-way traffic. City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Paul Whitford says the panel received a petition from First-Ward Councilman Brent Sheldon regarding the area around the intersection of Niagara and Barr Streets. Whitford says the residents are calling for Barr to be changed in that area. Whitford says the other area of concern regarded parking on Connecticut Avenue on the city's westside. Whitford says many residents want traffic to be one-way there due to a large amount of cars parked there for midget football games. He says many can't get into their driveways when games are taking place... and, says it's become a "very difficult situation." Whitford says the complaints and petition were presented to the city's Department of Public Works for review and action.
New polls show three Republican challengers leading Democratic incumbents in races that will help determine control of New York's Senate. The Siena College polls of likely voters show Susan Serino leading Senator Terry Gipson 52-to-40 percent in the mid-Hudson Valley, Rich Funke leading Senator Ted O'Brien 57-to-32 percent in the Rochester area... and, George Amedore leading Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk 52-to-42 percent in part of the upper Hudson and Mohawk valleys.
Federal legislation has been drafted... and, will be introduced in Congress soon to re-institute the School Resource Officer program as part of the federal COPS legislation. Local Congressman Tom Reed is co-sponsoring the measure... which would set aside 30-million dollars for the SRO Program. The money is used to help put police officers in the schools for safety... and, to head off potential student-related issues. Reed says there's been a lot of support voiced across the 23rd Congressional District. He says the move will guarantee funding for the SRO program. Reed says both he and co-sponsor North Carolina Democrat Mike McIntyre have heard overwhelming support for the re-authorization due -- in large part -- to recent school shooting incidents like Sandy Hook. However... Reed admits there won't likely be any action taken during Congress's lame duck session following the November 4th election... but, he says they'll put a "priority marker" on the legislation. Reed says getting the legislation approved would ensure that the School Resource Officer program is in place for future funding.
The ribbon was cut Monday afternoon on Congressman Tom Reed's western most campaign headquarters in Jamestown. A grand opening was held at Reed's headquarters at 19 East Third Street... which he says will be a "hub' of activity between now and election day on Tuesday, November 4th. Reed says there's been a lot of positive reaction to his campaign. Jamestown is the largest city in the 23rd Congressional District... which Reed has represented for the past two years after redistricting. The Corning Republican recently received the highest grade attainable from the National Rifle Association -- or NRA -- which he says he's "very proud of." Reed received an "A" grade, and their endorsement, for protecting the constitution's second-amendment. He has also received the New York Shooters Committee on Political Education's "A-plus" rating for his "firm protection" of second-amendment rights. Both organizations also cited the fact Reed has been a life-long hunter... and, sportsman.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's waiting until 14 days after the deadline in the law for nominating his next choice for the state's highest court. In a radio interview early last weekend... Cuomo said he's postponing so the state Senate won't face a confirmation deadline that falls the day before the November 4th election.
The main casino workers' union in Atlantic City plans to block traffic in a demonstration Wednesday to protest efforts by the owners of the Taj Mahal casino to eliminate workers' pensions and health care. Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union say they plan an act of civil disobedience near the New Jersey casino Wednesday night. Trump Entertainment Resorts says it will close the Taj Mahal -- it's last casino -- next month without major concessions from the union.