Brandon Hinman

Brandon Hinman


AUBURN | When Brandon Hinman was first charged with stealing money meant to support his twin girls, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann hoped to help resolve a difficult situation.

Hinman's wife, Jenna Hinman, had died in May 2014 after a two-month battle with a rare, pregnancy-related cancer.

The 26-year-old Port Byron native left behind a host of grieving loved ones, including her husband and two infant daughters. About two months later, Hinman was charged with taking more than $46,000 worth of donations from a bank account created to cover his late wife's medical bills and support their young children.

Budelmann, speaking Thursday morning in Cayuga County Court, said attempts to resolve Hinman's case have fallen through.

"We began trying to get the defendant treatment, to get restitution back for the welfare of the children," he said. "It doesn't look like that's going to happen."

Budelmann said his office plans to present the Weedsport man's case to a grand jury next week. If Hinman is convicted of forging his father-in-law's signature on 17 checks, Budelmann said the defendant could face prison.

The DA commented on the case during a court appearance where Eileen Walsh, Hinman's defense attorney, again asked Judge Thomas Leone to dismiss her from the case.

Four months after agreeing to give representing Hinman a second chance, Walsh told the court she had not spoken to her client in at least a month. Walsh said she could not effectively represent the defendant without his cooperation.

"There's clearly a breakdown in communication," she said. "It makes no sense to keep me on."

Hinman took responsibility for the situation with his attorney, explaining that he had been caring for his terminally ill father, working for a family member and attending daily meeting to address his problems.

"It's my fault," he said.

Leone urged Hinman to take action.

"This has got to take precedence," he said, "You're looking at prison now if you're convicted."

Attorney Rome Canzano was assigned to represent Hinman after Walsh was dismissed from the case. Hinman remains out of custody on $2,500 bail.

The plight of Hinman, a veteran, and his young family gained international attention last spring after his wife gave premature birth to twin girls and was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma.

Also in court:

• A state inmate will spend at least two more years in prison for possessing two blades at Cayuga Correctional Facility.

Lawrence McDow, 37, was sentenced to serve two to four years for first-degree promoting prison contraband. The felony crime occurred on Sept. 2, 2014 when correctional officers at the Moravia facility discovered McDow in possession of two slashing-type weapons.

McDow, who is currently serving up to three years in the Midstate Correctional Facility for possessing drugs, reportedly swallowed the blades before entering prison.

• A 28-year-old Baldwinsville man faces incarceration after admitting he used a stolen Bass Pro Shops gift card.

Sean McNabb, of 20 McHarrie St., pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony — admitting he unlawfully used another person's gift card at the Aurelius store on Aug. 5, 2014.

If McNabb pays restitution before he's sentenced in June, he faces one year in the Cayuga County Jail. If he fails to pay restitution, McNabb faces one to three years in prison.

• For selling more than 25 grams of marijuana in January 2014, Jason Hole will serve shock probation.

The 30-year-old Auburn man was sentenced to serve five years probation and complete 100 hours of community service after he was convicted of third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. For the felony sale, Hole must also pay $350 restitution to the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force.

Budelmann said Hole, of 220 Janet St., was dealing large quantities of pot.

• An Auburn man with a heroin addiction was sentenced to probation for possessing stolen property.

In addition to five years probation, Jay Liddle, 20, was sentenced to attend and successfully complete felony drug treatment court for his fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property conviction. The felony was committed on Dec. 2, 2014.

Liddle, of 55 Cayuga St., told the court he recently received in-patient treatment.

Staff writer Samantha House can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or Follow her on Twitter @Citizen_House.