State Police arrest 4 for Canaan home invasion

CANAAN—Four people were arrested for a home invasion here, April 19.

It is the second such case in the county this month, with three people, including two teenage boys, arrested in connection with a separate, unrelated home invasion in Philmont, April 14.

State Police from the New Lebanon barracks and Livingston Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested Zilla M. Kelly, 21, of New Lebanon; Elizabeth M. Jennings, 19, of Stuyvesant; Tomas N. Simpson, 22, of Chatham and Jaquan A. Hamilton, 24, of East Greenbush for first degree burglary, a class B felony.

Troopers responded to Peaceful Valley Road in Canaan for a report of three subjects attempting to gain access to a residence, April 19.

An investigation revealed that the incident had occurred two days earlier April 17 and out of fear of reprisal the victim did not call police immediately. Further investigation found Mr. Kelly, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Hamilton allegedly entered the residence, and allegedly assaulted the victim, whom they knew. The three male suspects then left the residence with a fourth involved suspect, Ms. Jennings.

The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

All defendants were arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail by Justice Angela Guzzi. They are next scheduled to appear in Canaan Court April 25.


A fugitive wanted in Massachusetts on a felony was captured in Kinderhook, April 23.

State Police in conjunction with Massachusetts State Police, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Schodack Police arrested fugitive from justice, Dennis P. Ducharme, 28, of Pittsfield, MA.

A joint investigation between the Massachusetts State Police and State Police from Troop K led to the discovery of Mr. Ducharme’s possible whereabouts in Columbia County after fleeing a felony arrest in Massachusetts.

With the assistance of the Troop K bloodhound along with other K-9s from the State Police and Sheriff’s Office; Troop G State Police, Schodack Police and State Police aviation it was found that Mr. Ducharme attempted to evade police capture by running from a convenience store into a nearby field. He was located and taken into custody without further incident a short time later.

He was awaiting arraignment at the time a press release was issued and State Police said an update will be provided when available.


Dante Gregory, 21, of Stockport was charged with third degree assault and second degree reckless endangerment, both class A misdemeanors, by Deputies Philipp Gomm and Eric Ordway, April 6 at 8:40 p.m.

Mr. Gregory is accused of shooting a BB gun and causing injury to a male victim while he was at the Greenport Town Park, April 6. He was issued appearance tickets returnable to Greenport Court at a later date. Greenport Police assisted at the scene.

*Crystal Bell, 25, of Hudson was charged with second degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputy Brian McSween, April 2 at 6:04 p.m. Ms. Bell is accused of violating an order of protection. She was arraigned in Greenport Court and released on her own recognizance with a later return court date.


Robert Mazzacone, 43, of Philmont was charged with first degree criminal contempt, a class E felony, by Deputies Steven Rose and Charles Hoffman, April 3 at 9:25 a.m. Mr. Mazzacone is accused of violating an order of protection by contacting a protected person. He was arraigned in Germantown Court and was released on his own recognizance to appear in Clermont Court at a later date.


The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*John Farrar, 40, of the Bronx was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and aggravated DWI, both class A misdemeanors, by Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Heath Benansky and Deputy Timothy Gladwin, March 19 at 10:26 p.m. Deputies responded to the area of State Route 22 and 23 in Hillsdale after receiving a report of a property damage accident. Mr. Farrar was stopped as he was pulling out onto State Route 23 from the Gulf station. He failed field sobriety tests. A breathalyzer test resulted in a .19% blood alcohol content (BAC) Appearance tickets were issued returnable in Hillsdale Court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email moc.r1566178060epapa1566178060ibmul1566178060oc@ne1566178060dlavd1566178060.

Candle ignites cabin blaze. A candle left burning in an upstairs bedroom caused smoke and fire damage to a log cabin at 139 Lockwood Road, Claverack, March 19 at 3:56 a.m. Craryville fire officials told a television news reporter on the scene that the location of the cabin on a muddy and icy, long, winding, uphill dirt driveway, caused problems for fire trucks trying to get to the scene. A cabin resident initially tried to squelch the blaze with an extinguisher but was unsuccessful. Firefighters had to deploy a mile of hose to bring water to the fire. Craryville firefighters called for mutual aid from Philmont, Hillsdale, Claverack with its FAST team, Churchtown, Taghkanic, Mellenville, Egremont, MA, and Copake. The Columbia County Fire Coordinators Office, Columbia County Cause and Origin Team, State Police and the Sheriff’s Office were on the scene. Firefighters were back in service at 12:04 p.m. Photo by Lance Wheeler

Trooper and hound stationed here

LIVINGSTON—State Police in Troop K announced the appointment of Trooper Justin M. Bell to the position of bloodhound handler, April 10. He will be stationed at SP Livingston in Columbia County.

Trooper Bell and his partner, Tilly, graduated from eight weeks of specialized training in Cooperstown.

Trooper Justin M. Bell and his partner, Tilly. Photo contributed

The State Police have been using bloodhounds since the 1930s. The dogs specialize in the tracking of people, including missing persons.

Trooper Bell has been a member of the State Police since 2014, and has been stationed in both Troops F and K.

Tilly turns one-year-old this month, and they both look forward to continuing the tradition of serving the Hudson Valley.

Sale of some smoke alarms banned

ALBANY—A new lifesaving law is now in effect that bans the sale of smoke alarms with removable batteries within New York State. This law passed and was signed in 2015 with the universal support of New York’s fire service, and its implementation will save lives, according to a press release from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY).

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, as of March 27 New York leads the nation in civilian fire deaths for 2019, outpacing the more populous states of California, Texas and Florida.

Under the new law, the only battery-powered smoke alarms permitted to be sold in New York are those equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries capable of powering the device for at least 10 years. Once installed, these alarms are virtually impossible to disable. They are widely available from a variety of manufacturers, and are reliable, tested and proven appliances, the release said.

The passage and implementation of this law is of vital importance to public safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. For more information visit 

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