Another home invader found guilty

CLAVERACK—The jury in the trial of Frederick Williams found the defendant guilty of second degree burglary and third degree robbery, Friday, December 6, according to a press release from District Attorney Paul Czajka.

State Police, with assistance from Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies, arrested the defendant and Miguel Alcarez, Jeremy Cobbins, Joseph Speed and Bobby Smith after a high speed chase from the Stuyvesant Falls home they had just burglarized in the early morning hours of August 2, 2012.

Chief Assistant District Attorney David Costanzo prosecuted the defendant before Columbia County Judge Richard M. Koweek.

Jury selection was Monday, December 2. Chief ADA Costanzo presented proof Thursday, December 5. The attorneys gave summations Friday, December 6.

This conviction follows a guilty verdict after the October 11 trial of Miguel Alcarez and the guilty verdict after the October 24 trial of Bobby Smith, both for burglary and robbery. In addition, Joseph Speed and Jeremy Cobbins were convicted by guilty plea before Judge Koweek of first degree burglary and first degree robbery Friday, October 18.

Judge Koweek has scheduled sentencing for Mr. Smith, Mr. Alcarez, Mr. Speed, Mr. Cobbins and Mr. Williams for January 8, 2014.

“Defendants face sentences of up to 25 years for burglary first and 15 years for burglary second,” DA Czajka said in the release. He commended the work of his chief assistant district attorney, saying, “This successful investigation and prosecution is yet another example of the emerging and unprecedented cooperation among Columbia County law enforcement agencies from which the public can only benefit.”

Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene as the burglary/robbery was in progress. All five defendants fled the scene in a SUV and led State Police on a high speed chase. Troopers arrested defendants after their car crashed into a pond, seizing all but one after a foot chase. A State Police canine assisted.

Among the police officers that testified were: State Police BCI Investigator Melanie Dale; Deputies Jeffrey Hofstetter and Kris Bauhoff and Troopers Doug Colwell, Eric Harris and John LaPlante.

The District Attorney also commended the victims for their testimony and their presence of mind to call 911 in a timely manner. He further noted that this conviction brings to a conclusion a lengthy, multi-defendant prosecution. It is the 26th burglary conviction in Columbia County since January 1, 2012.


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