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Olean man who endangered estranged wife and daughter pleads guilty to felonies

Richard A. Romero Jr., 36, of Olean, who has been jailed for more than a year for a gunpoint encounter involving his wife and infant daughter, pleaded guilty Monday before Cattaraugus County Judge Ronald D. Ploetz in Little Valley to felony charges in the case.

The former Martha Avenue man pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree burglary for the March 23, 2014, incident that began on South Second Street and ended with his arrest that evening on North Union Street. District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman said Romero, arguing with his estranged wife, got into a car with her and their then-15month-old daughter and at gunpoint ordered her to drive to a house on North 11th Street where he got a pillowcase he loaded with electronic devices and a shotgun and forced her to drive around town at gunpoint until he left the car and she called police who tracked him down.

The district attorney, who denounced Romero for what she called his “depraved indifference to human life,” said his sentencing has not been scheduled yet.

Also Monday in Cattaraugus County Court:

• Timothy J. Keller, 43, of Derrick City, Pa., pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with 57 felony counts of first-degree falsifying business records, two felony counts of first-degree scheme to defraud and a felony count of second-degree grand larceny. He is accused of defrauding more than 10 Little Valley area residents out of more than $50,000 in a business scam that began in 2007 and ended earlier this year.

• John M. Haluska, 65, of Frewsburg, pleaded guilty to a felony count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, for an incident in the Town of South Valley on Nov. 11, 2014 when he got into an argument and threatened to settle the argument with an incendiary bomb he had assembled. Indicted in May, he faces sentencing Feb. 1.

• Hope M. Pearsall, 20, of Olean, was placed on probation for the next 10 years on her Sept. 21 guilty plea to a felony count of second-degree attempted rape for attempting to molest a 14-year-old child last March in the City of Olean.

• Andrew R. Mang, 20, of Yorkshire, was placed on probation for five years on his third-degree burglary conviction for breaking into a Town of Yorkshire building June 24.

• Pete T. Shenandoah, 25, of Oneida, was placed on probation for five years, his driver’s license was revoked for the next year and he was ordered to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he drives on his Sept. 14 guilty plea to felony driving while intoxicated and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle for being pulled over in the City of Salamanca on Aug. 22, 2014.

• Robert B. Shelton, 54, of Salamanca, was placed on probation for five years, his driver’s license was revoked for the next year, and he was ordered to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he drives on his Sept. 21 guilty plea to felony driving while intoxicated for having a blood-alcohol level of 0.21 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit, when he was pulled over in the City of Salamanca Jan. 29.

• Ralph Pickering, 36, of Springville, currently serving a prison term at the state’s Groveland Correctional Facility until at least September 2018 for an Erie County burglary conviction, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary for a Town of East Otto break-in April 30. He faces sentencing March 7.

• Selena M. Hare, 23, of Randolph, currently in custody at the county jail, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of third-degree attempted burglary for a break-in in the Town of Randolph Feb. 12. She faces sentencing March 7.

• Cara L. Skye, 27, of Steamburg, currently in custody at the county jail, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for an attempted drug sale in the Little Valley area on Feb. 26. She faces sentencing Feb. 1.

• David R. Dille Jr., 37, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with two felony counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for several alleged drug deals in the City of Salamanca June 18, 2014.

• Joseph L. Hecht, 31, of Yorkshire, waived grand jury action and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted failure to register with the New York State Sex Offender Registry within 10 days of moving into the Town of Yorkshire in late September. He faces sentencing Feb. 1.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com

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