AUBURN — After posting an ad on Craigslist looking for a "young playmate," Jason Holcomb went to the Fingerlakes Mall to meet who he thought was a 12-year-old girl; however, the Cayuga County district attorney said it turned out to be a trooper with the New York State Police.
Holcomb, of 216 Blackberry Road, Liverpool, was arrested in May and initially charged with two felonies in the town of Aurelius: one count of first-degree attempted rape and one count of first-degree attempted disseminating indecent material to minors. But now, the 36-year-old is facing additional felonies after a grand jury handed down a six-count indictment in Cayuga County.
On Tuesday, Holcomb pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree attempted rape, a class C felony, and five counts of first-degree attempted disseminating indecent material to minors, a class E felony.
After Holcomb's arraignment, his defense attorney, Eric Smith, asked Judge Mark Fandrich to continue the defendant out on his own recognizance. Smith argued that Holcomb — an employee with the New York State Thruway Authority — was not a risk to the community as he has no criminal history. He also noted that there was "no victim" in the case.
In response, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said he hoped to see some bail placed on Holcomb due to the seriousness of the charges.
Judge Fandrich ultimately set bail at $1,000 cash, $2,000 bond. He said Holcomb would have 72 hours to post bail; otherwise, a warrant would be issued for his arrest and he would be remanded to Cayuga County Jail.
Holcomb was scheduled to return to court Jan. 9.
Also in court:
• An Auburn man was ordered to provide a new DNA swab Tuesday after police allegedly matched an old sample to DNA evidence in a rape case.
Paul Oattes, 42, of 300 Seymour St., was charged March 21 with first-degree rape, third-degree rape and two counts of third-degree criminal sex act, all felonies. He was also charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
On Tuesday, Judge Fandrich granted Budelmann's "buccal swab application," which would allow state police to collect a new DNA sample from Oattes.
Oattes' defense attorney, Norman Chirco, said he was "troubled" that the district attorney wanted another DNA swab because he was told the police had an exact match from a previous sample that Oattes provided.
"Does that mean things aren't as clear cut as I've been lead to believe?" Chirco asked.
Budelmann said it is protocol to collect another sample to confirm that the new DNA matches the DNA tested from the "bank." He claimed it was in Oattes' best interest to provide a new sample.
Fandrich agreed, stating he felt it was "better to be safe than sorry."
Oattes — who is charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and fourth-degree conspiracy in a separate matter — has been held without bail at Cayuga County Jail since January. He is scheduled to go to trial for the rape Nov. 27.
• Two Syracuse residents were sentenced Tuesday for selling drugs in Cayuga County.
First, Juwanda Tyler, 32, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by two years post-release supervision. She also received a shock camp order to receive substance abuse treatment while incarcerated.
A second felony drug offender, Tyler pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance in August. At the time, she told Judge Fandrich she sold cocaine to someone in Auburn in April 2016.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, 27-year-old Julious Anderson was sentenced to two years in prison and two years post-release supervision. He was also given a shock camp order for treatment.
Anderson also admitted to one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance in August. The second felony offender said he sold cocaine in Cayuga County in December 2015.
"Hopefully when I get out this time I'll change my life for the better," Anderson said in court. "I'm sorry for what I did."
• An Auburn woman was sentenced to prison Tuesday for her second violation of probation.
Tracy Bertollini, 30, of 20 Cross St., was originally sentenced to five years probation for welfare fraud in November 2013. However, in 2014, Bertollini violated her probation when she was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Then, earlier this year, she was arrested again in Madison County for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree false personation.
"I think for her sake and the community's sake, (prison) is the best option," Budelmann said, noting that a shock camp order for substance abuse treatment would be appropriate.
"She has addiction issues and she recognizes that," Bertollini's attorney Norman Chirco said. "It's really up to her to turn her life around."
Judge Fandrich said he was torn between a local jail sentence and prison because Bertollini has three small children at home. However, he ultimately sentenced her to one to three years in prison with a shock camp order to help her get "proper treatment."