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Parolee pleads guilty to menacing count in Massena neighborhood dispute

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MASSENA - A 24-year-old Massena man has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor menacing count after he allegedly threatened another man with a knife during a May 27 confrontation on Center Street.

Village police had charged Donald A. Fifield Jr. of 141 Carey Road, Massena, also listing a Route 11, Canton, address, with felony counts of first-degree menacing and criminal possession of a weapon and a trespassing violation.

Fifield pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of second-degree menacing after the court committed to sentence him to no worse than the recommendation made in a pre-sentence report that will be conducted by the St. Lawrence County Probation Department. Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson scheduled sentencing for April 6.

Police had responded to reports of a large fight at 254 Center St. at approximately 7:30 p.m. May 27. The complainants indicated one of the men was armed with a baseball bat and another man had a knife.

Craig M. Tassie told police he and his girlfriend, Lisa M. Rider, 31, both of 254 Center St., Apt. 1, Massena, had been sitting on their front porch when they noticed a large group of people approaching them from the area of the nearby footbridge before stopping at 258 Center St.

“They began to yell over at me calling me a child molester and saying that they were going to kick my ... They were all drinking and partying outside in the parking lot,” he noted in his statement to police.

“After listening to them threaten me for a while, I decided to grab my cell phone and start recording them. They yelled over that it was illegal be doing so,” Mr. Tassie added.

He said Steven and Laura Deshane, joined by a man that he did not know later identified as Fifield, started running toward his property.

“When I noticed this unknown subject had a knife in his hands, I went to the side of the steps and picked up a wooden baseball bat,” Mr. Tassie said.

He noted Marc Lapradd, who had been with the group, came over to this property and pushed Fifield away from him. “Steven then told me to put the bat down and fight him. Laura was also trying to come at me at the same time but was stopped by Lisa. Eventually some other people came over and pulled Steven and Laura away. I continued to record the entire time until the police arrived,” he noted in his statement.

Fifield had been sentenced to one to three years in state prison in July 2009 for a third-degree criminal mischief conviction, but he was placed in the 120-day Willard Substance Abuse Treatment Program with the remainder of his sentence scheduled to be paroled under community supervision. He spent four months in prison on a parole violation before being released under parole supervision again in April 2012. The maximum expiration date of that felony conviction was in November, according to the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Shannon T. Diamond, 37, of 714 Hamilton Ave., Wheelersburg, Ohio, was fined $500 and a $260 surcharge after a driving while intoxicated count was reduced to driving while ability impaired. His operating privileges in New York state were suspended for 90 days.

Diamond had been charged with driving while intoxicated and ticketed for crossing hazardous markings, illegally passing a red light and speed in zone at 10:50 p.m. Nov. 24 following a traffic stop on Maple Street. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent. A blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes a driving while intoxicated charge.

Police said they had observed Diamond speeding on Main Street and them slammed on his brake and stop in the middle of the intersection for a red light on Main at East Orvis Street. Police followed Diamond onto Maple Street, where he was allegedly traveling 55 mph in a 30 mph zone and crossed the hazardous markings line, before his vehicle was pulled over.

■ Justin H. Baxter, 30, of 6 Talcott St., Massena, was fined $25 and an $85 surcharge for unlawfully operating a snowmobile on public lands after he was stopped at 9:44 a.m. Jan. 6 on Talcott Street. He was additionally fined $25 and a $5 surcharge for permitting operation of an unlicensed snowmobile, a $5 surcharge for failure to wear a seatbelt while operating a snowmobile and a $65 surcharge for operation of an unregistered snowmobile.

Baxter had pulled a long sheet of paper with his four tickets out of his pocket and told the village justice he was prepared to plead guilty to all the charges. “What ever is on here, I did it,” he told the judge. “I had a little fun.”

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