Owen pleads to weapons charge in County Court

John Christensen

One of three in a high speed chase in drug, weapons arrest

Yates County Criminal Court resumed proceedings last week, but with COVID-19 precautions.

The first case Tuesday, June 23 was that ofJessica Owen, 32, one of the three people arrested following a late night car chase, an off-road wreck, and a confrontation with police in early January, for weapons and drug charges.

BRADLEY ZADUL, 40, of Niagara Falls,JESSICA OWEN, 32, of Umatilla, Fla. andCHARLES BUCHANAN, 38, of Penn Yan, were arrested at the end of that high speed pursuit through Penn Yan at 2:34 a.m. Jan. 2, and were later indicted by a grand jury.

Police say they observed Zadul leaving a suspected drug location in Penn Yan driving an uninspected vehicle. They stopped him for the violation at East Elm and Main Streets, but as officers approached the vehicle, Zadul fled the stop. They pursued Zadul through the village north on Rte. 14A into Benton at speeds over 100 mph, turning east on Buckle Road and to North Flat Street where Zadul left the roadway and attempted to drive through a farmer’s field in a small Mazda wagon. Zadul broke through an electric fence and struck a barn before driving into a ditch. Zadul attempted to flee on foot and was tasered by Yates County Sheriff’s Deputies who were assisting in the pursuit. Zadul and his passengers, Buchanan and Owen, were all taken into custody.

While searching Zadul, PYPD located a loaded .25 caliber handgun in his waistband, and a sheath knife on his belt. Officers also located a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun in the vehicle that had the serial number defaced, along with several bags of suspected methamphetamine and marijuana. Zadul’s vehicle was impounded, and a further search revealed a .22 caliber revolver, along with numerous bags of marijuana seeds, over $1,100 in cash, a baton, knives, and drug paraphernalia. Police also located a full Kingsmen Motorcycle Club vest along with numerous Kingsmen patches, and say Zadul appears to be a member of the Kingsmen, which has been involved in criminal activity in Western New York and has chapters in other states.

Owen originally pled not guilty to charges of 2nd degree criminal possession of a loaded weapon (C felony) and 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon (D felony). She was remanded on $10,000 bail or $15,000 fully secured bond or $20,000 partially secured bond.

Appearing Tuesday via video conference from the Yates County Centralized Arraignment Court at the county jail, Owen and Judge Jason L. Cook had difficulty hearing one another as she entered her guilty plea to the reduced charge of attempted 2nd degree criminal possession of a loaded weapon as a class D felony. Barely containing his frustration with the technical difficulties, Cook carefully addressed every question and confirmed Owen’s responses. Owen’s plea comes with a promised minimum sentence of 1 year up to a maximum of 2 years in prison and 2 years of parole, plus a fine, mandatory surcharge, DNA registry and fee and a waiver of appeal.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Tantillo stated the plea was acceptable because Owen was “less culpable that the principal defendant, Mr. Zadul.”

Buchanan was charged identically to Owen and is to appear June 30.

Zadul, who is a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, pled not guilty to numerous charges from the incident; two counts of 2nd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class C felony), three counts of 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class D felony), unlawfully fleeing police, resisting arrest, DWAI by drugs, 3rd degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and speeding. He faces further charges for the drugs found in the vehicle, pending lab results for analysis and weight. He is due in court Aug. 11. 

Other cases heard last week:

Michael Carr, 34, charged with 2nd degree burglary (class C felony) 3rd degree burglary (class D felony), two counts of 4th degree grand larceny (class E felony) including a stolen firearm, petit larceny, and criminal possession of burglar’s tools, failed to appear for the second time for a bail hearing. He is now charged with additional felonies after being accused of stealing over $3,400 worth of plumbing equipment from the Lowe’s in waterloo in Seneca County, and other felonies in Chemung County. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Travis Vermilye, 26, convicted of 3rd degree rape (class E felony) last July, was assessed a Level 2 sex offender.

Michael Hoke, 36, charged with 3rd degree burglary (class D felony) and petit larceny, pled guilty to the felony. He will be formally sentenced Aug. 18 to 6 months on jail and 5 years probation, plus restitution, surcharges, and fees.

Tracy Ginnery, 54, charged with two counts of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender, was offered a plea bargain for 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison. He will reappear June 30 to plea or argue motions.

Matthew Guilfoil, 30, charged with two counts each of 5th degree criminal sale and 5th degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, failed to appear. A warrant was not issued, but he must appear July 14 for argument of motions.