NORWICH – As families gathered in downtown Norwich for the community's annual holiday parade, in another corner of the small city, a man was being badly beaten with a baseball bat over a drug dispute after being ambushed inside a garage by three people.
At one point the victim even allegedly tried to escape but was dragged back into the building and beaten for a prolonged period.
The victim was left seriously injured and police arrested four people in connection to the incident, including conspirators and others who may have intentionally misled authorities. Police reported they had recovered the weapon used, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and heroin during the investigation.
The investigation involved the Norwich City Police and New York State Police.
“This was an incredibly violent case,” said NPD Detective Sergeant Reuben Roach. “The violence and overdoses in the last year are hard to comprehend and we are continuing to fight the methamphetamine problem with everything we have.”
The Norwich PD reported the one who swung the bat was Jeffrey M. Sabines, a 32-year-old New York State Department of Corrections parolee who has pleaded guilty to at least three prior felonies. Many of his prior arrests, large or small, have often included a weapon.
Despite being sentenced to up to six years in prison on December 3, 2021 for three different felonies and violating his probation in Chenango County Court, Sabines was released by the New York State Department of Corrections from prison this summer on July 28.
Sabines has benefited from New York State bail and judicial reforms passed in recent years and has been released with minor or no detainment on multiple occasions, including arrests relating to domestic violence.
He admitted to firing a rifle round through a McDonough home on May 17, 2020. The bullet went through a wall and the roof, endangering the life of the people who were inside.
“The action did create a grave risk of death to the said multiple victims,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Christopher A. Curly on the case's charging documents.
Sabines pleaded guilty to first degree reckless endangerment, but despite showing “...a depraved indifference to human life,” and creating a “...grave risk of death to another person,” New York State reforms now considered the crime, and Sabines actions during the crime, non-violent.
When asked to explain why the crime was not considered a violent action, District Attorney Michael D. Ferrarese expressed frustration and said, “You will have to ask your New York State Legislature representative that question. We can't control that.”
Sabines was arrested shortly after last week's attack and is charged with a violent crime. He was sent to the Chenango County Correctional facility without bail for violating his parole and being a recent repeat offender.
Ferrarese said the DA's Office would do everything in its power to prosecute perpetrators of violence in the community.
“Anyone who poses a danger to our community will be prosecuted and held accountable and we will seek out lengthy sentences,” said Ferrarese.
In court police said Sabines did strike the victim numerous times with a black aluminum baseball bat, beating the victim even as he lay on the ground unarmed and desperately struggling to defend himself, striking him in the head and upper and lower body.
The beating left widespread and substantial injuries including broken and fractured bones.
In court police said the attack occurred at about 6 p.m., the same time the Christmas parade was beginning and large crowds were gathered downtown. Police were notified about 45 minutes later after the bloody and battered victim managed to walk to a local business asking for help.
Norwich Police Chief Rodney Marsh said, “On Saturday, November 26 at approximately 6:45 p.m., the City of Norwich Fire Department responded to a business south of the city for an individual reporting they had been assaulted.
“Officers of the City of Norwich Police Department also responded and made contact with members of New York State Police, who were already on the scene. During the initial investigation, it was determined the assault had occurred in the City of Norwich and the victim was reporting they had been assaulted with a baseball bat.
“The victim had sustained multiple fractures, contusions, abrasions and was subsequently transported to UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City by Norwich Fire Department.”
A about 1 p.m. the day after the attack, on Sunday, November 27, the Norwich Police Department executed a search warrant at 10 Beech Street in the City of Norwich.
The following individuals were arrested in connection with this case:
Jeffrey M. Sabines, 32, of 4515 State Highway 12, Oxford, is charged with first degree assault, a Class ‘B’ felony and third degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class ‘D’ felony.
Jason R. Lowe, 44, ‘Homeless,' Norwich, was charged with three counts of third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, Class ‘B’ felonies, and fourth degree conspiracy, a Class ‘E’ felony
Daniel T. McCoy, 45, of 10 Beech St, Norwich, was charged with fourth degree conspiracy, a Class ‘E’ felony.
Meredith L. Conkey, 37, of 10 Beech St, Norwich, was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor.
Lowe, McCoy, and Conkey were ticketed and released due to bail reform. They are scheduled to appear in Norwich City Court at a later date.
In court documents it is alleged that during this incident Sabines struck the victim numerous times with an aluminum baseball bat and did so while Lowe and McCoy were present.
It is also alleged that Conkey obstructed the initial stages of the investigation.
“During the execution of the search warrant, Lowe was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug packaging materials” said Marsh.
“While Conkey was found to be in possession of methamphetamine” said Marsh. “The victim and Sabines were acquaintances, and the incident appears to have been drug related.”
The victim has been released from the hospital but will require further follow-up medical consultations.
The Norwich Police were assisted in this investigation by the NY State Police and the Norwich Fire Department.
Sabines has a previous felony conviction for third degree criminal possession of a weapon for violating his probation by keeping an illegal weapon: a bladed knuckle knife. He has also pleaded guilty to third degree grand larceny for previously defrauding NBT Bank for about $6,000. He was supposed to serve sentences of two to four years in prison for the charges but was released after only a few months by the state.
All people charged are presumed innocent of a crime until proven guilty in a court of law.