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WOMAN ADMITS SUFFOCATING INFANT SON WHEN SHE WAS 14

A woman admitted she killed her infant son six years ago after she secretly gave birth to him in her home.

Jessica Mathewson, 20, of Camillus, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree manslaughter. Mathewson admitted she intended to injure the infant but ended up killing him by suffocating him on July 7, 1995.

Though she could have been sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison, Mathewson will be given five years' probation and receive youthful offender status under a deal with prosecutors. Youthful offender status removes the conviction from her permanent record and seals the case file.

Sentencing was set for Dec. 3.

That Mathewson was 14 at the time was a factor in the plea agreement, said Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio.

Mathewson successfully hid her pregnancy from her family and boyfriend and apparently panicked and suffocated the baby after she gave birth prematurely in her bedroom, Trunfio said.

The baby's father, Michael Mac-Intyre, who was the girl's 14-year-old boyfriend, was not charged in the case.

Man gets 22 years in prison
for sodomy of boy, 10

BINGHAMTON (AP) -- A man was sentenced to 22 years in state prison following his conviction on sodomy charges involving a 10-year-old boy.

Broome County Judge Patrick Mathews rejected James Parker's plea for leniency Monday after prosecutors described the Endicott man as a sexual predator.

Parker, 37, asked for therapy and treatment. "Show some mercy, your honor," he said.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael A. Korchak stressed Parker's criminal history of sex-related offenses, all involving children, dating from 1986.

Korchak said Parker would live near and visit schoolyards and entice his young victims with candy and videos, many times pornographic videos, and then take advantage of them.

A county court jury in June found Parker guilty of two counts of first-degree sodomy.

FBI probes racial motive
in death of black man

SODUS POINT (AP) -- The FBI is exploring a possible racial motive in the strangulation of a black man at a tavern.

Bernard Allen, 34, died of asphyxiation in April during a fight with John Gueli, 21, who maintained he acted in self-defense. He was charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury declined to indict him.

Some of Allen's friends and relatives, backed by a citizens group that collected 900 signatures on a petition seeking a federal investigation, think the fight was racially motivated.

In a letter to the citizens group, Wayne Action for Racial Equality, an official in the Justice Department's civil rights division indicated the killing was under scrutiny.

"If the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes occurred, appropriate action will be taken," wrote Albert Moskowitz, a chief of the criminal section of the civil rights division.

Some witnesses said Gueli, who is white, shouted "white supremacy" during the fight April 21 at Jack's Driftwood Lounge in Sodus Point, a Lake Ontario resort 45 miles east of Rochester.

Three-week-old playground
damaged by suspicious fire

SYRACUSE (AP) -- Just three weeks after opening, a playground at Blodgett Elementary School was damaged by a suspicious fire and locked because the equipment is now too dangerous.

"This is so disheartening," Principal Pat Lamanna said. "I just can't believe this beautiful playground that took years to raise the money for is ruined."

Someone apparently set newspapers on fire Sunday in piles of wood chips around the equipment, and the wind fanned the flames, said fire investigator John Rose.

School officials didn't lock the fence around the playground when school was closed, to encourage children to take their families there on evenings and weekends.

"I am sad, my brother is sad, we are all mad and grumpy," summed up one first-grader.

The playground, geared toward younger children, is near another new playground financed for older children in part by a $25,000 donation from the National Basketball Association, which gave the money because basketball history was made in Blodgett's gym. The gym was where the 24-second shot clock was introduced.

Blodgett was built in 1919 and is attended by nearly 300 pupils.

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