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Torching barn costs man 3 to 9 years

An Ellington man was sentenced Monday to three to nine years in state prison for breaking into a barn in the Town of Randolph in May and setting it on fire, Cattaraugus County District Attorney Edward M. Sharkey said.

Jesse A. Benson, 37, pleaded guilty Oct. 24 to third-degree attempted arson, for which he was sentenced to two to six years, and third-degree attempted burglary, for which he was given a consecutive jail term of one to three years. He also was ordered to make $30,000 restitution.

According to Sharkey, in other court cases:

* Joseph L. McNeil, 38, of Olean, was sentenced to three years in state prison, followed by two years' probation, for his conviction on a charge of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. McNeil was arrested for selling crack cocaine Feb. 21 in the City of Olean.

* Vernon Marshall, 39, of Olean, drew a pair of concurrent one-year sentences to state prison, plus a year's probation, for his guilty plea to two drug charges.

Marshall was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was arrested for selling crack cocaine Jan. 14 in the City of Olean and possessing crack cocaine March 6.

* Eric W. Dustin, 22, of Leon, was sentenced to two months of weekends in Cattaraugus County Jail and five years' probation for his conviction on a charge of first-degree attempted reckless endangerment. He also was fined $1,000, and his driver's license was revoked for his conviction of misdemeanor DWI.

Dustin was arrested on a charge of endangering another person's life April 3 in Leon and for drunken driving Feb. 12 in Leon.

* Matthew L. Witt, 35, of Cuba, was sentenced to one year in the County Jail on charges stemming from sexual contact with a person younger than 17 during summer 2005 in the Town of Ischua.

* Dale Backus, 20, of Great Valley, was sentenced to four months of weekends in the County Jail and five years' probation for his conviction on third-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny charges.

Backus also was ordered to pay $14,000 restitution. He was charged with breaking into a building Feb. 18 or 19 in the Town of Great Valley and stealing a 1999 Mercedes-Benz.

Entering guilty pleas were:

* James D. Green, 28, of Cherry Creek, felony DWI and second-degree aggravated unlicensed driving. He was arrested July 11 in the Town of Conewango after his license had been suspended for a previous DWI conviction.

* Gerard J. Ryan, 57, of Rockledge, Fla., first-degree attempted sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arrested on charges he attempted to have sexual contact with a child under 11 years old on Aug. 1 in the Town of East Otto.

* Sherrie L. Carter, 27, of Springville, petit larceny. She was charged with stealing property Feb. 1 in the Town of Persia.


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