Friday, February 29, 2008

Marching In

CONVICTED of manslaughter, by nine female and three male jurors, on Tuesday, after six hours of deliberation and an 11-day trial in the Greene County courthouse, for causing the death of his 3-year old step-daughter: Joshua Barreto, 24. While declining to convict Barreto of the more serious charge of murder (second degree), which consists of bringing about a death by way of depraved indifference to human life, the jurors decided that Barreto negligently and wantonly caused the death on May 29, 2006, of Jada Keyes, by negligently and wantonly mistreating her in and around a bathtub in a Hop-O-Nose apartment where he lived with Jada's mother, Amy Fuller. According to local newspaper reports, defense attorney Greg Lubow was “extremely disappointed” with the verdict and plans to file an appeal. He will ask the appeals judge to rule that trial judge Daniel Lalor erred when he did not instruct the jurors that in order to reach a manslaughter conviction they must find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jada died specifically from neck and head injuries inflicted negligently by Barreto. For respectable Press coverage of the trial (by Ariel Zenga), go to, then click Daily Freeman, then type Barreto in the Search box and go back 30 days. As for Daily Mail coverage, some excerpts:

>…Wilhelm and…Lubow engaged in dialogue with the group of Greene County residents to make their selections based on the jurors objectivity and indiscretion. >Wilhelm asked the group if they thought someone would be becoming after committing a serious crime. >An arm injury Keyes had sustained on January 30, 2006 was used as a tactic by Lubow to bring suspicion of abusive behavior by Fuller, however a testimony given by Hechanova proved that abusive behavior was inconclusive. >The new statement claimed that she was, in fact, not home and Joshua Barreto was supervising her. [That sentence would make sense if one takes the noun referents of “she” and “her” to be different females: mother and child. Ed.] >When Fuller was question…, she broke down into tears and court was called to a short recess. >The bruises on the chest and shoulders very indicative of grabbing and shaking which was then supplemented by an impact on back of the head, according to Ng. >There was overwhelming evidence that supported the child was shaken, Ng said. >There as no microscopic examination of the brain, which boggled Callery…” >“I don’t can’t say cause of death is cranial cervical dislocation,” said Callery.

>In September, 2006 Elias had told received a phone call from Fuller to get his advice on a CPS investigation that was pending against her, she was being charged with neglect and severe abuse of her children, Keyes and Cadence. >When Barreto took the stand, he discussed his background from his days in basic training with United States Marine Corps, where he injury his knee and was medically discharged, to the events leading up to May 29, 2006. >He grabbed her by the neck and shoulders to her out of the tub…. >…Barreto continued to deny that his documented responses were not verbatim but paraphrased. >He reminded the jury to step outside the gossip and examine the facts of the case and that it was not “a comparison.”

SUGGESTED by one Tom Swope, in letters to editors of mid-Hudson newspapers: convert the Hudson Correctional Facility, which is slated for closing, into a satellite college campus. If that could be done, it would make more $en$e than keeping the place going as a prison just to protect jobs and, through them, the local economy. Mr Swope says the Facility’s staff members out-number its inmates, and, anyhow, the place “was not built to be a prison. It was built to be a reformatory for girls, and looks like an Ivy League campus with elegant Georgian style brick buildings in a park-like setting….”

DENOUNCED by Coxsackie police captain Samuel Mento, for putative “toxic environment”-creating, “misstatements and misinterpretations,” “gross distortion of the truth” and possible “slander”: Village Mayor John Bull. The quotations (via reporters Linda Fenoff, Greenville Press, 2/21, and Dollie Gull, Daily Mail, 2/27) express resentment of words aimed by Mr Bull at the work and spending priorities of police chief Donald Meier. (The quotations provided by the two reporters are eerily similar. Also eerily similar is the absence, in each case, of information about when and where the Mento and Bull statements were made).

NOMINATED as finalists in “Tourism Executive of the Year” award by the State’s Hospitality & Tourism Association, for announcement at a March 10 gala in Albany: Peter Finn, who is founder and board chairman of the Catskill Mountain Foundation, and Orville Slutzky, who is president of Hunter Mountain. Neither man really is or ever has been a “tourism executive” in the sense of being a paid full-time promoter of tourism. Each man is much more than that. (Incidentally, the Tourism Association’s news release concerning Mr Finn’s nomination was published in the 2/19/08 Daily Mail and again, verbatim, in the 2/23 issue).

DEFLATED by arrest on suspicion of hauling coin-operated air compressors away from filling stations and convenience stores in GreeneLand and Columbia County: Michael J. Swenson, 46, of Cairo. He faces charges of criminal possession of stolen property and possessing burglar’s tools, as well as grand larceny in connection with the separate matter of thefts of pocketbooks from cars in the Leeds area. His arrest follows a month-long investigation by State troopers, whose hunch about the perpetrator seemingly was confirmed when, under Swenson’s house at 106 Cairo Junction Road, nine of the missing tire-inflating gadgets were found.

OFFERED at giveaway prices, by Greene County Soil & Water Conservative District in Cairo: wildflower seed mixes ($12 for 40-ounce bag) along with seedlings, transplants, specialty packs. (go there!); 622-3620)

ADVANCE-ORDERED by numerous bookstores, as well as by the Scholastic Book Club and the Junior Library Guild, all prompting a second printing ahead of its official launch, by publisher PenguinPutnam, in May: United Tweets of America. It’s the latest book written (fluently) and illustrated (beautifully—we’ve seen it) by GreeneLand’s Hudson Talbott. Yes, that’s the same H. Talbott who, in addition to having written and/or illustrated 15 other books for children, and being a pivotal hands-on supporter of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and the Catskill Community Center, is well along with another project: an illustrated historic celebration of the Hudson River. This publication will connect to celebrations in 2009 of the 400th anniversary of Henrik Hudson’s riverine voyage. Meanwhile: In case you haven’t guessed, Mr Talbott’s current book describes and depicts the official birds of our 50 States.

ONCOMING Saturday (3/2): Benefits. For leukemia-afflicted Hilary Manning-Lundy, at Doubles II in Catskill (29 Church St; 679-8833), with music by the Voodelics. *For family of the late Howard (“Bud”) Praetorius, at the Fernwood Restaurant (678-9332) in Palenville, with live music. * For Catskill Little League, at Anthony’s Restaurant, with music by Steppin’ Out. (For details check -- whose last entry under the Little League News dates from October 2006).

Sunday (3/3), from 2pm: Cole House Rocks! Well, to be more exact: Robert Titus, professor of geological and environmental sciences at Hartwick College, will use Thomas Cole’s famous “Course of Empire” series to illustrate dawning painterly awareness of geology, and especially of the great antiquity on Earth of rocks. Previously, “old” had been ascribed chiefly to ancient man-made structures. (Oops! Almost mentioned Darwin. And evolution).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tom Swope has been an active community member in Hudson and a voice of reason. I would think that both Columbia and Greene counties would benefit from an increased higher education presence in our region. Clearly the greatest drawback for decent-wage economic development is the catch-22 of young people leaving the area for college, and not returning due to lack of opportunities for young people with degrees. An actual four-year institution of our own would facilitate developing the workforce for the kinds of jobs everyone seems to agree our area would prefer.

The prison grounds still retain a much more scholastic feel than a prison, once one ignores the wire fences and focuses on the brick. One can easily visualize a small, intimate campus, balancing traditional Hudson Valley values of arts and envoronmental science with current favorites like business, engineering and new technologies.

Rather than protesting the loss of a sector that generally only offers employment in an era when that sector is declining (and, if not for local impacts, we could all celebrate that prisons are less needed), we could instead seize the opportunity to replace it with an institution that would offer a full array of benefits well beyond the payroll.