Paul Khouzam murder trial rescheduled for July

John Christensen

Paul Khouzam, 38, the man charged with 2nd degree murder and other felony charges for the Aug. 6, 2018 attack on his mother, Dr. Magda Khouzam-Daoud, who later died, appeared in Yates County Criminal Court Tuesday, Jan. 28 for argument of motions before Judge Jason L. Cook.

Khouzam was indicted Nov. 1, 2018 for 2nd degree murder (class A violent felony), 1st degree burglary (class B violent felony), two counts of 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class D felony), and aggravated cruelty to animals (class E felony) following a domestic incident Aug. 6, 2018 on Arrowhead Beach Road in the Town of Torrey north of Dresden, where Khouzam allegedly broke into the Seneca Lake home of his widowed mother, killed her dog, and then bludgeoned her with with a hammer and and stabbed her with a knife.

In April 2019, Cook ordered Khouzam committed the Rochester Psychiatric Center’s Regional Forensic Unit after two independent psychiatric reports found Khouzam to be “an incapacitated person at this time.” He was committed to the State Commissioner of Mental Health to be held for 1 year, and the case was suspended, with the $1 million bail/$2 million bond still in place. Somewhat unexpectedly, Khouzam was returned to the custody of the Yates County Jail in October after doctors determined he was fit to proceed.

Pre-trial hearings for the admissibility of statements and data from Khouzam’s cell phone seized by police, will be held March 12. Jury selection for the trial had originally been scheduled for May 8, but has been rescheduled to begin July 16 after one expert witness requested more time for examination.

Cook continued the bail, and Khouzam was remanded back to jail without bail on his pending violation of probation in Schuyler County.

Other cases heard Jan. 28:

RAMON C. JOHNSON, 38, of Dundee, convicted of 1st degree attempted criminal sex act against a child (class C felony) after accepting a plea bargain for reduced charges, appeared for sentencing.

Johnson was arrested June 6 by New York State Troopers following investigation and indictment of a sexual offense that took place April 7, 2018 in Dundee against a girl under age 15 who was physically helpless because he had given her drugs. He also committed the sexual offense in the presence of another child.

Johnson was originally charged with 1st degree criminal sexual act (class B felony) and 2nd degree criminal sexual act (class D felony), and as a possible predicate felon, faced up to 25 years in prison in enhanced sentencing if found guilty at trial. He has prior felony convictions, failures to appear in court, violations of probation, and was facing charges of promoting prison contraband in Penn Yan Village Court and 7th degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in Dundee Village Court. Earlier, he rejected a plea bargain for the reduced charge in exchange for 10 years in prison, 12 years parole, and registration as a sex offender. 

Johnson was sentenced to 9 years in prison, 15 years parole, plus state surcharges, fees, and sex offender victim fee of $1,000. He was registered as a sex offender for life, and will be evaluated for risk before he is released from prison.

JEREMY J. JOHNSON, 41, of Hammondsport, convicted of 3rd degree manufacture of methamphetamine (class D felony) appeared for sentencing. Johnson was arrested July 16 with a large quantity of pseudoephedrine pills, a glass meth pipe, a coffee filter with meth, plastic tubing, lantern fuel, and other components for making methamphetamine.

Hornell police also arrested Johnson Aug. 24 on felony drug charges: 3rd degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and 3rd degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (class B felonies), and 7th degree criminal possession of controlled substance (class A misdemeanor). Police recovered the oxycodone pills that he sold and 3-4 grams of methamphetamine. Johnson was also charged Sept. 19 by State Troopers with trespass, 2nd degree criminal trespass, and 2nd degree harassment at a property in Avoca.

For the Yates County conviction, he was sentenced to 145 days in jail and 5 years probation, including substance abuse treatment.