From the death row execution in Florida of a Greenport man to a rare armed robbery in Mattituck, here are five top stories in our crime coverage of 2012:
After pleading in an embezzlement case Katherine Pope, who served as Shelter Island justice from 1998 to 2002, and her husband, Wayne, both got probation on Jan. 10. On Nov. 15, 20-11 Katherine Pope pleaded guilty to fourth-degree identity theft, a misdemeanor, and her husband, Wayne Pope, pleaded guilty to fourth degree grand larceny, a felony, for stealing more than a million dollars from an 89-year-old Water Mill woman suffering from dementia. Husband and wife are each serving a sentence of five years probation, and they are not required to pay back any money to the estate of Estabrook.
Despite pleas to the Florida State and U.S. Supreme Courts for a stay of execution, Robert Waterhouse, formerly of Greenport, was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 8:22 p.m. on Feb. 16 after undergoing a lethal injection procedure mandated by Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Jan. 4. Waterhouse, 65, was sentenced to life in 1967 for the 1966 rape-murder of 77-year-old Greenport resident Ella Carter. While out on lifetime parole in 1980, he raped and killed Deborah Kammerer in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was convicted of first-degree murder.
Donald F. Lechtrecker, 65, of Orient, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on July 18 at 4:06 p.m., after Southold Town Police responded to a report of someone firing a rifle at construction workers at a job site on Stephenson Road in Orient, police said. Police located Lechtrecker to the rear of his residence, where he was found to be in possession of a Winchester 30/30 lever action rifle, police said.
A 24-year-old Shirley man was arrested and charged with numerous offences on Sept. 12 after police responded to a report that he was attacking his girlfriend in the parking area of the Empire Gas Station in Laurel, police said. Parked at the same gas station, an off-duty New York State Court Officer witnessed Jordan M. Gormez apparently attack his female companion and then threaten violence toward the court officer and his wife, police said. After police responded to a call regarding the incident, Gormez fled on foot and was immediately pursued by the police officer on the scene.
Gormez repeatedly ignored lawful commands from the officer and confronted and physically attacked the officer numerous times, police said. Gormez was able to get behind the police officer and attempted to grab the officer's gun, at which point the off-duty court officer was able to assist in constraining and eventually subduing Gormez. Investigation revealed that Gormez had also done considerable damage to the female victim's vehicle.
Mattituck BP Gas Station manager Recep Zaim confirmed on Nov. 20 that the station was robbed of $4,000 and cigarettes by three masked men — at least one of them who was armed — Monday night at about 10:30 p.m. Zaim said that the man with the gun told the worker behind the counter to lay down on the floor, which he did, while two other men jumped behind the counter and stole the money and cigarettes. Zaim said the men then destroyed surveillance cameras located in the back of the mini mart, which became a 24-7 operation this past April.