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Sun., Dec. 28
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Watertown man admits causing death of son

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A Watertown man admitted Tuesday that he caused the drowning death of his 10-month-old son in August.

Michael R. Davis, 31, of 740 Cadwell St., pleaded guilty in Jefferson County Court to criminally negligent homicide. He was accused of leaving his son, Brady M. Davis, for an extended period in a bathtub with a water level that created a substantial risk of death to the child on Aug. 22. According to the police investigation, it was found that the child was unattended for about 18 minutes while Mr. Davis was on a computer in a nearby room, “just out of sight” of the child.

“It was nothing intentional,” city police Lt. Frank J. Derrigo said when Mr. Davis was charged. “The father’s totally remorseful, and it’s unfortunate that we had to file charges against him. However, if it wasn’t for his negligence, the child would not have died that night.”

Mr. Davis is expected to be sentenced Sept. 17.

In other court activity:

Randy S. Kraft, 41, Hammond, pleased guilty to third-degree attempted arson and third-degree criminal trespassing. He was accused of entering Vito’s Gourmet sandwich shop, 3 Public Square, about 8 p.m. May 9 and trying to start a fire by pouring kerosene in the kitchen near a stove that had an open flame. The kerosene did not ignite a fire. Mr. Kraft told police he did not mean to hurt anyone and wanted to send a message to the owner, Anthony V. Tarzia. Mr. Kraft had been dismissed from his job at the sandwich shop the week before the incident.

After pouring the kerosene, he drove to Mr. Tarzia’s house and told him what he had done, according to the deposition he gave police.

He is expected to be sentenced Aug. 27.

Kevin L. Riddick, 55, Watertown, was arraigned on a sealed indictment. He was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was held on $20,000 bail and is due to appear in court again Aug. 6 for a conference.

James Cortu, 26, an inmate at Cape Vincent Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty by mail to second-degree promoting prison contraband following an incident in which police said they found synthetic pot on a chair in the visitors room of the correctional facility in March. He was sentenced to one year of incarceration to run concurrent with the sentence he is serving.

Matthew P. Luffman, 22, Watertown, was sentenced to six months in the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building followed by five years’ probation after pleading guilty in May to third-degree attempted sale of a controlled substance. He admitted that he tried to sell heroin within the county on Nov. 19.

Rhonda J. Thomas, 32, Watertown, pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted sale of a controlled substance. She was accused of selling heroin within the county. She is expected to be sentenced Aug. 28.

Michael A. Lowe, 31, Carthage, pleaded guilty by partial Alford plea, meaning he did not admit to all the underlying facts in the case, but was pleading guilty to avoid the possibility of being convicted of a more serious offense at trial, to third-degree burglary, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree criminal trespassing. He was accused of breaking into the Community Bank branch on Route 3 after police found him hiding in a closet in the bank. He is expected to be sentenced Sept. 27.

Doreen J. Slocum, 26, pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was accused of selling heroin in late December. She is expected to be sentenced Aug. 27.

Ingrid M. Exford, 47, Watertown, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud. It was alleged by Jefferson County sheriff’s detectives that while Mrs. Exford was the office manager at Nephrology Associates of Watertown PC, 19320 Route 11, she falsified business records to cover her crime of stealing patients’ insurance co-payments, as well as the unauthorized use of the business’s credit cards for her personal needs, with losses to the practice in excess of $27,000. She is expected to be sentenced Aug. 27.

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