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Fort Drum man cleared of animal cruelty charge

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A Jefferson County Court grand jury cleared a Watertown man of an allegation that he tried to cut off a cat’s toe after the animal had scratched a child.

The jury returned a no-bill in the case of Eric Ayuso, 26, determining there was insufficient evidence to support a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony under state Agriculture and Markets Law.

Mr. Ayuso was charged in January by Watertown police after it was alleged that he had taken the pet into a bathroom at his Faichney Drive apartment and tried to sever its toe after the cat had scratched his son’s face.

The grand jury returned indictments against:

Eliesha M. Miner, 29, Carthage, was charged with second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and second-degree reckless endangerment. It is alleged that she placed Aaron Worden in danger of serious injury or death by stabbing him in the left arm with a knife July 24 at his residence in the town of Pamelia.

Jared M. Thomas, 17, and William J. Almond, 16, both of Watertown, were charged with second- and third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny, third- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree criminal mischief and petit larceny. Mr. Thomas additionally faces second counts of second-degree burglary and petit larceny, as well as five more counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

It is alleged that on June 9 they entered the Globe MiniMall on Court Street with the intent to steal something and did steal property belonging to the Kiwanis Club. It also is claimed they damaged a gumball machine. It further is alleged that on June 15 they entered the Cedar Street residence of Cataldo Morgia and stole more than $3,000 worth of property. Mr. Thomas additionally is alleged to have entered the Columbia Street residence of Muranda Johnson and stolen items Jan. 3 and, on the same day in the town of Watertown, to have possessed a laptop computer stolen from Darrell Noke and property stolen from Clara McClendon, William Bowman and Nolan Fullett.

Anthony M. Cusson, 25, Watertown, Sir-Paris R. Hall, 23, New York City, and Mason J. Cooper, 21, also of New York City, are each charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. It is alleged that they possessed heroin with the intent to sell the drug June 25 in the town of Watertown. Mr. Cusson and Mr. Hall were charged following a traffic stop on Route 11, while Mr. Cooper was charged during a subsequent investigation at a Route 11 motel room.

Mr. Cusson additionally is charged with second-degree forgery, two counts of first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree identity theft, second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, second-degree criminal impersonation and being an unlicensed operator. It is alleged that he identified himself to police as Kyle Lolar and signed a fingerprint card and a court receipt using the false name. It also is claimed that he was driving without a valid driver’s license.

Linda L. Pitts, 44, Watertown, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps and seven counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. It is alleged that from August 2010 to May 2011 she received more than $1,000 worth of Department of Social Services benefits to which she was not entitled by providing the department with false information. Police said at the time of her arrest in January that she had claimed her 24-year-old son resided with her when he actually had moved out.

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