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    Court Roundup

    Saturday, August 23, 2008
    By Jim O'Hara
    Staff writer

    A Syracuse teenager accused in a shooting that has left the victim paralyzed will not have his case handled in Family Court as a juvenile delinquency matter.

    Onondaga County Judge Anthony Aloi on Friday rejected a defense request to transfer Jason Curry's case given the seriousness of the charges and the severity of the victim's injury.

    Curry, 14, of 623 W. Brighton Ave., is charged with two counts each of robbery and assault in a March 9 incident in which Marcus Phoenix was shot in the neck. Phoenix, 23, was found lying in the street at Valley Drive and Bertram Place.

    Aloi said Phoenix was paralyzed from the neck down and might remain that way for the rest of his life.

    The judge said he thought letting Curry have his case handled in Family Court because of his age would send the wrong message.

    Aloi said the evidence indicated it was Curry who actually shot Phoenix with a sawed-off rifle while a co-defendant, Tylonn Anderson, 16, was armed with a knife.

    Anderson, of the same West Brighton Avenue address, is facing the same assault and robbery charges.

    In refusing defense lawyer Marsha Hunt's request to transfer Curry's case, Aloi said he thought a 14-year-old was old enough to understand there were consequences to pointing a loaded gun at someone and pulling the trigger.

    The judge said the case appears to be that of "two bullies" who accosted an innocent victim on the street to rob him and ended up leaving that victim to face living the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

    Under the circumstances, the judge said he was ruling out youthful offender treatment that would remove any felony conviction from Curry's record and seal the case file.

    Guilty plea in fraud case

    A Syracuse woman pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to stealing more than $25,000 in workers' compensation benefits by falsely claiming she was not working when she was.

    Laurine Vogt, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin to a felony fraud county in obtaining federal employee compensation.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Olmsted told Scullin the evidence showed Vogt received $25,634 in benefits since February 2007 by certifying she did not have any other employment while collecting workers' compensation benefits from the U.S. Postal Service.

    In fact, she was working as a home health care assistant at a residence in North Syracuse, he said.

    Vogt could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in addition to being ordered to pay restitution.

    Sentencing is Dec. 18.

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