AUBURN — A former Auburn inmate's plea to assault satisfied a manslaughter charge he faced for his part in the death of a fellow inmate.
Ashton Bellamy, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault while in a correctional facility, a class D felony, in Cayuga County Criminal Court Thursday. His plea satisfied his entire indictment, which included a first-degree manslaughter charge, a class B felony.
In July 2017, Bellamy was at Auburn Correctional Facility in a cell next to Daniel Wingate, a soon-to-be-released sex offender, when Wingate allegedly called Bellamy "the N word," Chief Assistant District Attorney Chris Valdina said in court Jan. 10. Later that day, Bellamy entered Wingate's cell with codefendant Rupert Alberga.
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Wingate was later found in his cell unresponsive and covered in blood. He was evaluated, then transported to Auburn Community Hospital where he later died due to blunt force injuries to the head.
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In his guilty plea to second-degree assault, Bellamy admitted punching Wingate in the face twice. In court in January, Valdina said that Alberga, 37, serving a 24-year-to-life sentence for a previous second-degree murder conviction, continued to beat Wingate.
Bellamy admitted Thursday that when the cell doors opened he entered Wingate's cell and assaulted him. "I was an inmate at the correctional facility," he said as part of his plea, "I assaulted him. I hit him."
"Alberga did that on his own," Bellamy said relative to causing the death of Wingate, "but I just assaulted Wingate," he added, admitted he intentionally caused injury to Wingate.
Bellamy is currently incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility on a previous first-degree attempted assault conviction.
In exchange for his guilty plea, Judge Thomas Leone promised to sentence Bellamy to 12 years to life in prison, the lowest available offer. The maximum sentence for his crime would be 25 years to life in prison.
"I just want to say thank you to the court for being patient with me," Bellamy said.
"Everyone is entitled to that respect and that patience," Leone replied.
Also in court
• A former Auburn inmate was sentenced for assaulting a fellow inmate who was doing push-ups out in the main yard in July.
District Attorney Jon Budelmann said in December that Marven Lee, 28, struck the victim with a downward blow to the right side of his face with a "sharp cutting-type instrument" when the victim stood. The victim suffered a seven-inch laceration which required about 72 stitches to close.
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Lee, who pleaded guilty to his crimes in December, was sentenced to two to four years in prison for his crime of second-degree attempted assault while in a correction facility, a class E felony; and 3.5 to seven years in prison for each of his crimes of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree possession of dangerous contraband in prison, both class D felonies. His sentences will run concurrently to one another.
Lee's sentence will run consecutively, however, to the sentence he is currently serving as an inmate at Five Points Correctional Facility for a previous conviction of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
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• A former Auburn inmate facing charges for allegedly stabbing a fellow inmate refused a plea bargain offering five years in prison for his crimes.
Erick Lewis, 31, assaulted a fellow male Auburn Correctional Facility inmate with both a hard plastic shank and a disposable razor blade in July. Lewis stabbed the inmate with the shank and slashed him with the razor, causing lacerations to the victim's face and body, according to Lewis' grand jury indictment.
At the time of his arraignment in December, Lewis — currently incarcerated at Great Meadow Correctional Facility — appeared eager to offer a guilty plea, telling Judge Leone "listen, I got life in jail man ... it doesn't make a difference." In court Thursday, however, Lewis turned down an offer because he believed it was too much time.
Budelmann offered a sentence of five years in prison and five years post-release supervision — the lowest allowable sentence — if Lewis would plea guilty to his second-degree assault charge. He noted that wasn't the worst felony on his indictment.
Leone said if Lewis goes to trial, he'll likely be looking at 15 years on top of what he's already serving. Lewis' earliest release date is August 2051. Even if only convicted of his contraband charges at trial, Leone said Lewis would be facing about seven years in prison.
Lewis said the offer was "too much" time for the extent of the injuries and he'd rather take a risk by going to trial.
Upon Leone's request, Budelmann allowed the plea-deal offer to stay open one week until 5 p.m. next Thursday. Leone said due to Lewis' "heavy exposure" to prison time he wants him to have time to think about the offer. A tentative trial date was set for June 3.
• An Auburn man could face up to three years in prison for failing to change his address as a sex offender and possessing a stolen credit card.
Allan Laury, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday to both failing to report change in address as a sex offender, a class D felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class E felony.
"I didn't know I could file as homeless," Laury said during his guilty plea, but acknowledged he did know he had only 10 days to report a change and didn't.
Laury also admitted possessing a Bank of America credit or debit card and attempting to make about a $634 purchase at Walmart. He said the card was denied, but he had hoped to buy items to then pawn them to support his drug habit.
For failing to report his change in address, Laury will likely be sentenced to one to three years in prison and for possessing the stolen credit card he will likely be sentenced to 1.5 to three years in prison. He is due back for sentencing March 28.
• An Auburn man pleaded guilty to lying to a grand jury and scraping a truck that wasn't his.
Clinton Allwood, 29, of 46 Orchard St., pleaded guilty to first-degree perjury, a class D felony, and fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony.
"I testified I had a legal title to the vehicle," Allwood said, saying he knew that was a false statement. For his larceny charge, Allwood admitted scraping a 1994 Ford pickup truck that he didn't own and obtaining about $200 to $300 in return.
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While he could face up to seven years in prison for his crimes, Leone said he'll likely sentence Allwood to five years of felony probation. Leone warned Allwood to be "straight-up honest" with probation for his pre-sentence report, reminding him that "the people are looking for a prison sentence." Allwood is due back for sentencing May 2.
• An Auburn woman was sentenced for her involvement in a May burglary.
Brittany Bryan, 30, of 26 Westlake Avenue, pleaded guilty in November to third-degree burglary, a class D felony, and fourth-degree conspiracy, a class E felony. At the time, she admitted to driving a vehicle and acting as a lookout for police while codefendants burglarized an Auburn residence.
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Bryan was sentenced to 2 1/3 to seven years for her burglary conviction and 1 1/3 to four years for her conspiracy conviction. Both sentences will run concurrent and with a shock camp order. An amount of restitution will be decided after a restitution hearing.