AUBURN | For the past 16 months, Gerald Dale has called the Cayuga County Jail home.
But if convicted of a new, lengthy list of domestic-violence-related charges, the 34-year-old Auburn man faces spending decades behind bars.
During his arraignment Thursday morning in Cayuga County Court, Dale pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated family offense, all felonies, and 25 counts of second-degree criminal contempt, all misdemeanors, denying allegations accusing him of repeatedly sending letters to a person with an order of protection lodged against him.
Thomas Turturo, Dale's defense attorney, said his client — if convicted of his 30-count-long indictment — could spend more than 30 years in prison.
District Attorney Jon Budelmann asked the court to remand Dale into custody, arguing that the defendant had repeatedly engaged in "a course of conduct with potentially lethal results."
Turturo disagreed with Budelmann's assessment of his client, claiming Dale's letters did not go unanswered.
"The alleged correspondence was going two directions," he said.
Turturo asked Judge Thomas Leone to consider setting reasonable bail to allow the currently incarcerated Dale to "maybe see some sunlight," adding that his client — if released — would abide by the order of protection.
"He understands he needs to stay away from them," Turturo said.
Leone remanded Dale back to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
Also in court:
• A level-two Moravia sex offender denied allegations accusing him of repeatedly contacting the victim he was recently convicted of raping.
Steven Williams, 21, pleaded not guilty to violating the terms of his probation, refuting allegations that he fought with officers who attempted to arrest him for calling the 16-year-old girl he unlawfully had sex with in March.
Williams, of 1302 Suckerport Lane, was previously sentenced to serve 10 years probation for his felony third-degree rape conviction.
• A 42-year-old Auburn man put himself at the mercy of the court after pleading guilty to a felony without receiving a promised sentencing range.
Arthur Council, of 19 Frederick St., pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of weapon, admitting he used a chunk of wooden molding with a nail protruding from it as a weapon.
The defendant said he pulled a piece of molding off a door frame last November during a fight on Osbourne Street.
Council's plea satisfied the other three charges on his indictment. He faces spending up to seven years in prison.
• If Nicholas Tracy doesn't attend and complete felony drug treatment court, the 21-year-old Moravia man faces spending time in prison.
In exchange for earning a chance to attend drug court, Tracy, of 213 N. Main St., admitted stealing nearly $2,000 worth of merchandise from Aurelius' Sears in March and selling the stolen goods at an Auburn pawn shop.
For his fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records convictions, Tracy must also pay $1,899 restitution.