AUBURN — Dwight Williams will spend at least two years in prison in connection with a domestic violence case after he was sentenced Thursday in Cayuga County Court.
But, for the victim, who is the mother of Williams' two sons, it was the court order prohibiting him from having contact with her that appeared most upsetting. Because it meant that he couldn't talk to her, or their children.
Williams, 40, was arrested and accused of choking the 39-year-old woman in her sleep after entering her Auburn apartment on Olympia Avenue on March 19. The Auburn Police Department issued a warrant for Williams' arrest, but police said he returned to the victim's apartment on March 22 and caused more than $250 in damages to her car before he was apprehended on March 28 by APD and the New York State Police.
When he last appeared in court on July 11, Williams admitted to damaging the victim's car and to violating a previous order of protection by contacting her on March 19 and April 4. He was promised a sentence of two to four years in prison at that time in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal contempt and aggravated family offense, all class E felonies.
Emotions began to swell as Williams tearfully began to read a statement to the court on Thursday, often pausing and choking up entirely at one point. "The person who committed those crimes, I hate that person," he said, going on to say he wanted to a better role model for his children. "They deserve to have a healthy, sober father."
In response, Judge Thomas Leone returned to the subject of Williams' children. "They don't need to see a father who was abusive to their mother," he said. "I hope you read that letter every day" in prison, Leone said. He added that he hoped Williams was able to change, even with his "terrible" criminal history.
Defense attorney Rome Canzano earlier requested on Williams' behalf that the order of protection be modified to allow some contact with the victim. Leone denied the modification, issuing a full stay away order benefiting the victim and handing down the prison sentence.
In her own impassioned statement, the victim asked Leone for a different outcome primarily for her children's sake. "They cry because they can't remember what their father's voice sounds like," she said. "I pretend he's dead to get through this, but my kids don't."
Leone didn't budge, saying he's seen similar domestic violence situations but that he hopes both she and Williams get counseling. He also denied Williams' ability to waive the remainder of his restitution — about $500, according to the district attorney's statements in court.
Before Williams was escorted out of the courtroom, he turned around in his seat and spoke to the victim in what Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann noted afterwards was in violation of the order of protection that was just issued.
Also in court:
• Andrew Wilbur, 19, of 54 Van Anden St. in Auburn, was sentenced to one to three years in prison after he was convicted of possessing a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony.
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Wilbur pleaded guilty to the charge at the time of his arraignment on July 19, when Leone promised him the conditional statement instead of the maximum 1 1/3 to four years. The time Wilbur already spent in jail will count toward his prison sentence.
• An Auburn man who violated an order of protection against a woman was sentenced to one to three years in prison.
Budelmann said in court on Thursday that 26-year-old Brendon J. Harvey, stood over the woman's bed, calling her a "whore" and pushed her back down on the bed. Harvey continued to call the woman, who had an order of protection against him, that night until APD got on the phone at one point, police said.
Harvey, formerly of of 228 N. Seward Ave., Auburn, pleaded guilty July 11 to first-degree criminal contempt, a class E felony.
• A Port Byron man who solicited oral sex from someone he believed was a minor will spend two years in prison followed by five years of post release supervision.
Richard McAllaster, 37, formerly of 10518 Duck Lake Road, initiated "oral sexual conduct" in the Town of Brutus on May 17 with an FBI agent McAllaster believed to be a 14-year-old boy, Leone said in an earlier court proceeding. Because he pleaded guilty July 11 to second-degree attempted criminal sex act, a class E felony, he avoided the maximum prison sentence of four years.
• An Auburn woman began a 30-day sentence at the Cayuga County Jail on Thursday. Stephanie Weaver, 22, of 64 Grant Ave., Apt. 3, was also sentenced to three years of probation and mandated mental health treatment.
Weaver attempted to discard a knife that was used in a stabbing on June 2 on Grant Avenue in Auburn. Noah Oakes, a 20-year-old who was identified at the time as her boyfriend, had a knife at the time of the incident and was charged shortly after in connection to the non-fatal assault.
She pleaded guilty Sept. 6 to attempted tampering with physical evidence, a class A misdemeanor, in exchange for the sentence she received on Thursday.