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Cayuga County sentencing adjourned ninth time for drug dealer

Cayuga County sentencing adjourned ninth time for drug dealer

  • Updated

A woman's sentencing for drug dealing was delayed a ninth time in Cayuga County Court Thursday, with a judge warning her to comply with the court's conditions or risk considerably more time in state prison. 

Nicole Gerard Heidemann, 39, of 1326 W. Townline Road, Phelps, called in for virtual sentencing in front of Judge Thomas Leone. In January she admitted to third-degree sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony, and fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance, a class D felony. She faces 4.5 years in prison, then two to three years of post-release supervision.

Heidemann's attorney, Jason Housel, asked that her sentencing be adjourned so she can spend the holidays with her family, in light of a last-minute medical emergency Heidemann dealt with in October that had led to a previous adjournment. Housel said Heidemann would comply, adding she is in regular contact with him and has consistently shown up to court.

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said he was wasn't unsympathetic, but argued for Heidemann to be sentenced Thursday. He said the sentencing had been pushed back eight times. 

Leone decided that, "against my better judgment," he was going to delay the sentencing until Jan. 7, but noted he was going to "revoke Ms. Heidemann's pre-trial release, for lack of a better term." Leone said Heidemann needs to report to the Cayuga County Jail by 5 p.m. Jan. 6 so she will be in the jail when he sentences her.

"Once again, it's against my better judgement to do this and I hope it doesn't get thrown up in my face later. I hope Nicole stays healthy, she doesn't use, doesn't OD, doesn't die or anything else, and I mean that very seriously," he said. 

Leone then addressed Heidemann directly, saying that if she doesn't report to the jail on time, he would issue a bench warrant for her arrest and she would be looking at 16 years in prison — seven years for the fifth-degree sale felony and nine years for the third-degree sale felony, running consecutively. 

"Listen, I have some faith in people. Don't let me down on this. If you burn me on this, you're going to be spending a long time in the state prison system," Leone said. "Do you understand that?"

"Yes, sir," Heidemann replied.

Also in court

• A 19-year-old sex offender was assessed a moderate risk level to reoffend and also admitted to violating probation.

Dayton Pike, 19, who previously had a address of 515B Sleepy Hollow Road, Gouvernuer, was sentenced in October to 10 years of shock probation and jail time for second-degree rape. He already served the six month sentence at the Cayuga County Jail at that point. In January, Pike admitted to having sex with a girl under 15 from August to October 2019 in the town of Locke. 

Leone said "the court finds that the people have established facts by clear and convincing evidence which support" the assessment of Pike being a level-two offender.

Pike also had a probation violation addressed in court. Cayuga County Probation Officer Nick Flanigan said a transfer of supervision for Pike to St. Lawrence County was rejected by the St. Lawrence County Probation Department due to Pike's residency.

"There was somebody with a criminal history living there that I was unaware of and the individual had pending charges that I was unaware of, and there was also marijuana in the home and/or the smell of marijuana, as reported by St. Lawrence County probation officers," Flanigan said.

Pike admitted to lying about his housing situation. Leone allowed Pike to be released Thursday, but with conditions Flanigan placed on him, with Pike's next court date being Jan. 28. Flanigan said he needs Pike to report to a satellite probation office in St. Lawrence County to see an officer Friday, give his DNA, cooperate with the sheriff's office to be registered and find adequate housing.

If Pike does these things, he will not receive additional punishment for this violation. If he does not meet these requirements, he faces potential additional sentence, including state prison, said Rome Canzano, Pike's attorney.

"Dayton, don't screw this up. I can't speak any more clear than that. Make sure you cooperate with probation. You give him any kind of attitude, they're going to report it to me and I'm just going to send you right on to state prison," Leone said during court.

•  A man faces state prison for drug charges. William Purcell, 56, faces two counts of fourth-degree sale of a controlled substance. Budelmann noted in court Thursday that Purcell appeared in court in January, pleading to an indictment. Leone promised Purcell two years in state prison and two years of post-release supervision. He noted Purcell's sentencing was adjourned multiple times and in August, Purcell was not in court when he was directed. Purcell was arrested on a court-issued bench warrant in November, Budelmann said. 

Budelmann argued Purcell should not receive the previously agreed-upon sentence, and Leone opted to break from it, saying Purcell "failed to cooperate fully with probation and you disappeared on us for a little while." For both charges, he was sentenced to three years of state prison followed by three years of post-release supervision.

Purcell apologized before sentencing.


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