Syracuse Post Standard, April 11, 1997

Syracuse Post Standard

April 11, 1997

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Issue date: Friday, April 11, 1997

Pages available: 169

Previous edition: Thursday, April 10, 1997

Next edition: Saturday, April 12, 1997 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Location: Syracuse, New York

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Post-Standard, The (Newspaper) - April 11, 1997, Syracuse, New York IllllllllIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIIiriBMMIIIIiIlliaill' Expanded Coverage 1HE FRIDAY APRIL METRO EDITION In today's expanded sports section... ...father vs. son auto racing, and Varsity, the spring scholastic sports preview. Dirt-racing legend Bob McCrea- die has a new competitor this yean his son Tim. The story of the McCreadies is part of expand- ed auto racing coverage in today's Also inside: A special Varsity section will tell you who's who in high school sports. When kids go wrong, ToughLove can help When chil- dren lie, steal, dnnk, run away or use vi- olence, the self-help group can teach par- ents how to take a no-nonsense, confrontation- al approach to solving family prob- lems. See cny, Page E-1. Slither into Friday Movie Madness "Anaconda" is a slick, scary, funny creature feature that doesn't A parody of ama- teur theater, "Waiting for Guf- fman" is a wicked funny E-4. John Cusack plays an assassin in the quirky comedy "Grosse Pointe "Kama Sutra; A Tale of Love" is lovely to behold, but lacks Corrections Mfllard Fuller's Lyncourt To discuss a correction, call the executive editor at 470-2169. Guide to calendars Local Calendar: fund-raisers, health screenings, support groups, lectures and senior events: Page C-2 cny Calendar: arts and enter- tainment Page E-3 Today's Brisling: business meetings, workshops and job training: Page C-10 SOGGY WEEKEND Today's clouds will reman for a lew days and brmg ram or Ight HIGH: 43 LOW: 35 Television Classified Local Loltery'A-2 ISBthYEAR, NO 169 H lift -STANDARD OUT AT HOME AT EASTWOOD HOMES MICHELLE Post-Standard Five-year-old Sheyanne Warren steps inside after playing near Eastwood Homes Thursday. Her family is moving out of the complex near the border of Syracuse and DeWitt so the apartments can be renovated. See story, Page C-1. Richard Thibodeau Stands His Ground He was acquitted of kidnapping Heidi Allen but still finds it difficult to live and work in a community convinced of his guilt By JANET GRAMZA The Post-Standard Until three years ago, Richard Thibodeau was a nobody, and that was fine with him. At 48, he had three failed marriages and four children, and was jumping from job to job to catch up on child support. He had set- tled down in New Haven, Oswego County, with a girlfriend, Teresa Crawford, and sup- ported her and her two children. His life seemed routine: construction work, odd jobs and family obligations. He wore blue jeans and baseball caps, lived in a "handyman special" mobile home and drove a battered van with a temperamental dutch. At 5-feet-5 and 145 pounds, gray- haired and bespectacled, he did not stand out in a crowd. Then on Aprfl 3, 1994, he bought some cigarettes at a nearby convenience store and everything changed, he said. That Easter morning, 18-year-old Heidi Allen vanished from the Convenience Store in New Haven, minutes after she rang up Thibodeau's two packs of Basics. A couple of hours later, with TV news broadcasting reports on the missing store clerk, Thibodeau called the sheriffs depart- ment to say he had been there that morn- ing. An Oswego County sheriffs deputy who came to interview him said he didn't seem nervous, "only that he wanted to help in locating Heidi." But before the week was out, Thibodeau was the investigators' prime suspect. The cash register tape showed his cigarette pur- chase was Allen's last transaction. A wit- GARY Post-Standard Richard Thibodeau, shown at a friend's house in New Haven, is trying to put his life back together after the Heidi Allen case. ness described seeing two men forcing a girl toward a van resembling Thibodeau's outside the store Easter morning. A grand jury accused Thibodeau and his younger brother, Gary. No forensic evidence linked either broth- er or the van to Heidi Allen. But at Gary Thibodeau's trial, two former cellmates tes- tified that he told them he had helped ab- duct Allen. A jury convicted him of kidnap- ping in July 1995. Three months later, Richard Thibodeau was acquitted of the same charge. When he heard "not he threw back his head in relief. He said he thought the verdict would convince the world that both he and his brother were innocent "I guess it don't work that he says now. Nearly two years later, Gary Thibodeau remains in state prison, serving a sentence of 25 years to life. A judge recently denied his request for a new trial. Gary Thibo- deau's lawyers are seeking an appeal, based partly on the argument that Richard's ac- quittal should cast doubt on Gary's guilt. Richard Thibodeau is a free man. But many in the community still believe he is guilty of kidnapping, if not killing, Heidi Allen. And since his picture was "plastered all over the he said, perfect strang- ers now point and talk behind his back. Seeking restitution Thibodeau said that's why he has filed a million lawsuit against the county and the sheriff's department, claiming he was "falsely arrested, maliciously indicted and maliciously prosecuted and illegally impris- oned." The claim accuses the county of forcing Thibodeau to defend himself in court even though prosecutors and investigators "knew their case had no merit." Since that time, Thibodeau "has been subject to ridicule and disdain and his earn- ing power has been destroyed and his health has been greatly according to the claim. In his first public interview, Richard Thi- bodeau said the sheriffs department manu- factured a case against him and his brother because they couldn't find Allen's true kid- nappers. "They accused us of this crime that didn't commit and they knew that didn't do this he said. "They just tried to fit us into this crime. My brother is in jail for something he didn't do." Thibodeau said he still has trouble sleep- ing. "I sometimes just about lose my breath, thinking about almost losing my he said. Teresa Crawford's children, who think of (See 'WE Page A-5) 1997 The Herald Company CENTS SYRACUSE. NY. Bennett Officer Admits Scheming Kenneth P. Kasarjian says he faked documents, kited checks and sold leases for nonexistent equipment. B> CHARLEY HANNAGAN The Post-Standard NEW YORK A former key officer of the Bennett Funding Group admitted in fed- eral court Thursday that he helped the com- pany cheat investors out of million. The guilty plea by Ken- neth P. Kasarjian, for- merly senior vice presi- dent, moves prosecutors deeper into the Bennett companies' inner circle and closer to its former chief financial officer, Pat- rick R. Bennett. Charges were filed a year ago against Bennett, Bennett including securities fraud and perjury. Defense attorneys said Kasarjian's cooper- ation in the investigation could affect the sentence he receives for his guilty pleas. A lawyer for Patrick Bennett said Thurs- day he could not comment on what effect Thursday's developments could have on his chent's case. Kasarjian, 52, of Mahwah, N.J., told U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts that he sold leases for equipment that didn't exist, helped an unnamed senior Bennett officer fool auditors, faked some documents and de- stroyed others When the Bennett companies came up short of money m early 1996, Kasarjian said, he took part in a check-kiting scheme to SUJH port the company. Kasarjian said he gave Patrick Bennett blank checks so Bennett could write checks and deposit money in the company's dwindling accounts. Trouble was, Kasarjian said, there wasnlt any money in those bank accounts either. I; Inside Business: More details, of Kasarjian's Winterlike week This week's frigid temperatures have kept baseball teams ranging from the SkyChiefs to Little Leaguers off the field. A Canadian high-pressure system is to blame See story, Page C-1. DEGREES FAHRENHEIT Actual lows 47 Northeast Regional Ornate Center Weather forecast, Page A-2. We're under a cloud, Page C-2. Syracuse Newspaper what do you think? Why a Blitz? 'Hey, We're New, Look Us Over' We asked you Thursday to let us know what you think about the changes in The Post-Standard. Many of you did. Many of you, for exam- ple told us to put Jfce lottery numbers back on Page A-2, where you're used to finding fiiem. So we did. That's where youTI find them today. Many of you had other suggestions for ways to im- prove our coverage Jf you want lo tell us what works for you or what could be Improved, here's how: By e-mail: sarooers (a) syrac-use com By mail: Stephen A. Rogers The Syracuse Newspapers P.O. Box 4915 Syracuse, N.Y. 13221 V By phone: Gail Newsbne a? 472-2111, enter category 7777 and record a message Expanded editions of The Post- Standard debut as check out free samples. More upgrades are coming. By JAMES T.MULDER TJif Pf.1 Standard Stephen Hodgens, promotion manager at The Syracuse Newspapers, normally reports to work by 7 a.m. But Thursday was anything but normal for Hodgsns and about 350 other Syracuse News- paper employees. They showed up at 5 a.m. to hawk free copies of The Post-Standard at more than 300 street comers, gas stations, supermarkets and other locations throughout Central New York The free-sample blitz was orchestrated to promote the expanded newspaper. Hodgens handed out 200 newspapers in front of Ibe Hotel Syracuse in downtown Syracuse be- tween 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. "It was a hltle chilly out there, but I actually thought the whole thing was a he said. By mid-afternoon, more than 43.000 papers uere distributed in Onondaga, Madison, and Cayuga counties. Director Jeff Barter said he knows of no bigger one-aav giveaway by any DAVID PoKi-Standard Mary Bill hands out free copies of The Post-Standard outside Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. headquarters in downtown Syracuse Thursday. newspaper "It went perfect" Barber said. "It was a great team effort." Stephen A. Rogers, editor and publisher, said the masque giveaway uras nail of the biggest ever tn tne 169-year httory of The Post-Standard. "We just thought the new Post-Standard was so unique we wanted everybody we could reach in Central New York to take a look." Rogers said, "We wanted to say, JHey. we're new, look us The expanded paper includes more local. sports and business news as well as expanded and redesigned Neighbors sections serving Onondaga County suburbs. New Neighbors sec- tions in Cayuga, Oswego and Madison counties also were added. Rogers said readers will see more improiements, in coming months in fea- ture sections and high school and neighborhood sports coverage Rogers said the improvements were made possible by the merger of the news staffs of The Post-Standard and the Herald-Journal a year ago. By eliminating duplicated coverage, about 35 jrmmak-ls were freed up lo cover more local news, he said Rogers said reader reaction so far lo the im- provements has. been mostly favorable. "Most of the people I've talked to seem lo appreciate all the expanded local news, especial- ly the Neighbors sections, and are saying, "Keep it he said "If thev have any pel peeves. they're telling TPE 1no irv lo do all cm ;