Homicides rocked the region in 2012


Recorder News Staff

With two double homicides and the growth of the Neighborhood Watch movement in the city of Amsterdam, the year 2012 saw its fair share of crime-related headlines.

In early March, Amsterdam residents Cheryl Goss and William McDermott were found stabbed to death in McDermott's Locust Avenue apartment.

Police had been on the lookout for a suspect and in September, a grand jury indicted Amsterdam man Ivan Ramos, 30, on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Ramos was remanded back to prison where he is serving a three-year prison term in connection to stealing construction equipment in February.

His trial is set to begin Jan. 22.

In July, just months after the discovery of Goss and McDermott's bodies, police found the bodies of 16-year-old Paul Damphier and 13-year-old Jonathan DeJesus, both of Amsterdam, in a soybean field on Snooks Corner Road in the town of Florida.

The two boys, who had been reported missing to police a week before, were found to have been shot with a long-arm rifle.

Fifteen-year-old Matthew Phelps, of Florida, and 16-year-old Anthony Brasmeister, of the town of Amsterdam, were charged in the homicide and each were indicted just last week on two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon.

They will be arraigned Jan. 3, when trial dates will also be set.

In other crime-related headlines throughout the year:

* Ramos was also found guilty of first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in connection to a November 2011 home invasion incident on Guy Park Avenue in the city. Ramos, wearing a ski mask, carried a knife and an accomplice had a shotgun, officials said. The two made off with cash, a gaming console, and a wireless Internet router.

* The Neighborhood Watch Association made its return to the city of Amsterdam this year, with watch programs beginning in nearly each neighborhood. At various press conferences throughout the year, officials attributed certain crime knowledge to the growth of the associations in the city. And residents and officials involved in the associations hoped they would help make neighborhoods safer by fostering closer relationships between officers and citizens and heightening crime prevention and drug awareness.

* On Nov. 12, Amsterdam police arrested 12 individuals from five locations during a drug bust in the city. The five-month-long investigation by the department brought the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with other outside agencies. Six other individuals were arrested and charged following the initial bust. Officials said in November that some of the original individuals arrested were associated with gangs.

* In early June, the naked body of 54-year-old Kathryn Jackson Alling, of Mayfield, was found by town employees collecting garbage on Tyrrell Road in Mayfield. The investigation into her death is ongoing, but officials have determined that bath salts were not to blame for the woman's death.

* The designer drug commonly known as "bath salts" made its national debut and brought discussions to the region of its harms and fouls. Officials joined in Fonda in August to educate themselves on the synthetic drug, which was banned under state public health laws this year.

* In May, 19-year-old Eduardo Figueroa, of Amsterdam, was found to have drowned in the Mohawk River near Erie Canal Lock 11 after attempting to help his younger brother who was attempting to swim to Bronson Island. Figueroa's body was recovered the next day.

* In June, four Amsterdam residents were nabbed in a drug raid after a three-month-long investigation. A quantity of crack cocaine, heroin, $745, a 1998 Mercedes-Benz Roadster, a shotgun, and a ballistic vest, along with drug paraphernalia were seized from four locations.

* Five known drug dealers were hauled off to jail in April after a six-month-long investigation by Amsterdam Police for drug sales throughout the city.

* A local Broadalbin family mourned the loss of a loved one after finding out that that one of 26 killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December was Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, a former Broadalbin local who planned to move back to the area upon the completion of her Ph. D. program.

* In March, a Fulton County grand jury indicted 19-year-old Justin VanNostrand, of Gloversville, in connection to a December 2011 accident that killed passenger Christopher "CJ" Insogna, 19, and injured his 17-year-old sister, Kelsey. VanNostrand was believed to have been traveling at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. In September, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half to seven years in prison on each count of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree reckless endangerment, to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the Insogna family.