Man gets 30 years for stealing from migrants

Man gets 30 years for stealing from migrants

A man who was convicted of using prostitutes as a distraction so he could burglarize migrant workers' apartments was sentenced in Cayuga County Court on Monday to 30 years in prison.

Visiting Monroe County Judge Elma Bellini sentenced Clarence Brown, 56, of 8668 York Settlement Road, Sodus, to two consecutive 15-year prison sentences with five years of post-release supervision for second-degree felony burglary. She told him that his actions were reprehensible and despicable.

Bellini helped the county court system with the case because of an increase in felony trials that needed to be conducted.

Bellini also sentenced Brown, who maintained his innocence during the court proceeding, to one year in jail for promoting prostitution, a misdemeanor. All three sentences were the maximum allowed under the law.

“She threw the proverbial book at him,” said Samuel Tamburo, Brown's defense attorney.

Tamburo said Brown planned to appeal. The appeal could focus on the trial or on the sentencing.

During the week-long trial, which ended May 12, Brown was convicted by jurors after they heard testimony from two of the victims; two accomplices, Kelly Finnerty and Shannon Terwilliger; several expert witnesses; and Brown himself. The jury spent two days deliberating and came back to the courtroom twice to ask questions about the charges and to have some of the testimony read to them.

Brown was ultimately convicted of driving to the victims' homes on Dec. 31, 2005, where he offered victims the services of a prostitute before he robbed them. Both men said Brown threatened them and stole property such as DVDs, CDs, clothing and video game equipment.

“We were looking for the maximum sentence for (Brown),” said Cayuga County Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Valdina. “He is just a menace to society and he has nothing that we can see as redeeming.”

Brown was previously convicted of petit larceny in 2007 when he and several accomplices were caught targeting and robbing migrant workers in Wayne County. Brown was also convicted in 2005 with cocaine possession and in 2004 with endangering the welfare of a child after he was arrested for trying to lure a 16-year-old girl into his van with marijuana.

While Brown, who is an illegal immigrant, could have been deported to the Bahamas, the district attorney's office believed that would have been the same as letting Brown off the hook, Valdina said.

“He has been targeting vulnerable people in our society,” Valdina said. “Migrant workers have very little money and possessions, and what little they had, (Brown) was stealing. He was also victimizing the prostitutes, getting them pregnant and addicted to drugs. He tried to portray himself as a family man, but impregnating two women while still being married to his wife is not what a family man does.”

Staff writer Nate Robson can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 248 or nathan.robson@lee.net

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