Press-Republican

Wednesday

April 30, 2014

Donah takes plea deal; will not face May trial

(Continued)

A sentence of up to seven years could actually translate into less than the 16-month minimum ahead of Donah, he said.

“You end up being eligible for some of these different programs to reduce your sentence. That’s the simple math of our current system.”

Among those, he said, is the shock-incarceration program.

“On the one hand, it is very frustrating that (Donah) is not held accountable for each and every event I believe he committed,” said the DA, whose office was called upon to prosecute the case due to a conflict in Clinton County.

“But he no longer has a gun; he no longer has a badge.

WAIVED APPEALS

On Tuesday, Donah also waived his right to appeal the February trial and his plea, Crawford said.

She spoke highly of State Police Investigators John Donohue and Karen DuFour “for taking charge of the case and doing the right thing, letting (the women) know that all New York State Police are not like Mr. Donah.

“They both did a tremendous job working with the victims.”

Crawford included the former girlfriend whose case was heard first and ended with Donah’s absolution. 

That was a difficult one to prosecute, she said, in part because the charges had to fit the time period of the alleged crimes. Then, she said, domestic-violence strangulation crimes had not yet been law.

Instead, alleged actions that fit those parameters had to be addressed under assault charges and therefore a bigger challenge.

‘JUSTIFIED CHOKING’

“This was a very complex case from day 1 for many reasons,” Champagne said, grouping all three cases together. 

First was the significant delay in reporting the crimes, he said, which meant evidence such as phone records weren’t always available.

Juries, accustomed to TV trials, he said, “want DNA, they want pictures.”

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