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Ex-supervisor accepts plea in domestic case

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Updated: 7:09 PM

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

Former Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Karl Baia on Wednesday accepted a plea bargain in city court Wednesday in connection to an August 2011 incident at 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler's apartment.

In lieu of going through a trial that started Wednesday, Baia pleaded guilty to harassment and trespassing violations that carry $250 fines.

"It's a fair resolution of the case, and Ms. Wheeler is on board," said Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira. She was assigned to prosecute the case last year at the request of Montgomery County District Attorney James E. "Jed" Conboy because the incident occurred when Baia was an elected official.

"They're not crimes, and I want to stress that point," Baia said of the violations. "I'm glad this private matter is finally resolved."

Baia, 30, said he accepted the plea for two reasons: "One, this has gone on so long. Two, I did not commit a crime, and as long as that point was stressed, I was comfortable accepting the plea."

Baia was arrested by Amsterdam police at 11 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2011, at Wheeler's 200 Virginia Lane apartment, and was charged with a felony count of second-degree burglary, endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Police said they responded to a 911 hang-up at the apartment that night, where a female victim said Baia broke down the door and engaged in a physical altercation, and it took place in front of a young child.

Attorney Peter Moschetti, who represented Baia, said the case has been sealed, and the plea "was a good way to resolve the case. This was a private matter that was blown way out of proportion."

     

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