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AROUND THE STATE FOUND IN FATAL HOUSE FIRE

Disabled smoke detectors found in fatal house fire

BINGHAMTON (AP) -- Residents in the house where a Binghamton University student died in an early-morning fire apparently had removed batteries from smoke detectors, according to a city fire marshal.

Gerald Tita said firefighters found one smoke detector in a back room of the house where Evelio Figueroa died. It had been removed from a wall. Two other smoke detectors were in the kitchen but had no batteries, he said.

Figueroa, a junior from the Bronx, was found in the bathtub of a second-floor bathroom. An autopsy listed the cause of death as smoke inhalation.

Police said the seven people who lived in the building threw a party Saturday night, then went out to drink at a bar in the city. Some of their friends apparently went home with them.

The fire started shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday when a desktop lamp that was wedged up against a wall burst into flames.

Ex-YMCA official accused of misusing credit card

UTICA (AP) -- Police have accused a former YMCA board president of using the organization's credit card to buy carpeting, an electric range and other items for his home.

Keith Gunter, 38, of Whitesboro, was arraigned Monday in Utica City Court on three counts of petit larceny, misdemeanor charges punishable by up to one year in jail.

Gunter pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released without bail. He is due back in court March 8.

According to police, Gunter bought more than $1,200 worth of items with a Lowes credit card in the name of the Utica Family YMCA.

YMCA officials asked police to investigate earlier this month when they found discrepancies in the Y's financial books. A few days later, the organization's governing board removed Gunter as president.

Man gets seven-year term for hurting infant daughter

UTICA (AP) -- A man convicted of assaulting his infant daughter while she was crying has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Ernest J. Piper, 24, of Utica, also was sentenced Monday by Oneida County Court Judge Michael Dwyer to a concurrent one-year term in the county jail on a conviction of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police said Piper caused near-fatal injuries to his 4-month-old daughter in July by squeezing her chest so hard he broke six ribs and caused other internal injuries. The baby, who doctors said was close to death when her mother took her for treatment, required several months of hospitalization.

Piper, who was previously convicted of burglary, was sentenced as a second-felony offender.

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