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Manchester Crimewatch: Woman charged in motel fire says she doesn't remember setting it

May 02. 2014 9:41PM

MANCHESTER — A woman arraigned Friday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division on a felony arson charge told Judge William Lyons: “I don’t even remember starting the fire.”

Christine Flebotte, 37, of 41 Manchester St., is accused of setting a fire Dec. 28, 2013, at the Cadillac Motel, 500 Chestnut St.

Flebotte asked the judge for a break on bail, saying she is in a program and her medications are being adjusted, but the judge set bail at the $2,000 cash/surety sought by the police prosecutors, with conditions that bar her from the Cadillac Motel.

No plea can be entered to a felony in Circuit Court, so a probable cause hearing was set for May 14.

Woman’s voice was raspy

A police prosecutor Friday requested $10,000 cash/surety bail for Zack Gingras, 22, of 429 Central St., at Gingras’ arraignment in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division on a felony charge of first-degree assault.

Gingras is accused of attempting to strangle a woman during an argument by putting his right arm around her throat and pressing until she had difficulty breathing.

Police prosecutor Richard Brown said the investigating officers noted the woman had a raspy voice and Gingras had scratches on his face that fit with the accusation.

Brown said Gingras has 2010 convictions for theft, trespass, breach of bail and shoplifting; 2011 convictions for resisting arrest and theft (2), and 2012 convictions for robbery, violation of probation, assault and stalking. Brown said Gingras’ criminal history “demonstrates the propensity for violence this young man has.”

Lyons set bail at the requested amount, with conditions barring contact with the alleged victim, and a probable cause hearing on the felony was set for May 14.

Pleads to local charges

Bennie White, 46, who lists the homeless shelter as his address, was brought to Circuit Court-Manchester District Division on a forgery warrant from Merrimack District Division, where he had failed to appear.

But he had also failed to appear on a number of Manchester violations, some dating back to 2008. He entered negotiated pleas that include lounging, consuming alcohol in public, conduct in public, and alcohol in the park, that totaled $650 in fines and failure to appear fees, which he will serve off at $50 a day.

Bail was set at $2,500 cash/surety on the forgery charge, for which he will be transported to the Merrimack court for a hearing May 7.

Negotiated plea entered

Jonathan Butterworth, 21, who had been scheduled for a bail revocation hearing Friday in Circuit Court, after he was charged with stalking his fiancee while out on bail on three charges of assaulting her, pleaded guilty to two stalking charges.

Terms of the negotiated plea called for dropping the assault charges in return for the plea to the stalking charges. He was sentenced to one year in jail on each charge, deferred for one year, and consecutive if imposed.

He is also required to obtain a domestic violence evaluation within 45 days and follow up with any recommended counseling, with reports provided to the court.

Butterworth was living at 470 Silver St. with his fiancee and a third person when he was arrested for assault. He was charged with stalking for returning to the Silver Street apartment while his victim was present. He must return to court May 6, 2015, for a deferred sentence hearing. If he has complied with all the conditions, the sentence can then be suspended.

Barred from contact

On Thursday, Toni Grasso, 28, asked a Circuit Court-Manchester District Division judge to change bail conditions that bar her from returning to her residence at 201 Green St.

Grasso pleaded innocent to two simple assault charges, one alleging she grabbed her boyfriend by the throat and punched him in the face and the second alleging she threw a snow boot, hitting a 19-month-old child in the shoulder as the child stood in her portable play yard April 15 at 205 Bell St.

Grasso wanted to be able to return to Green Street because that’s where she and her daughter live with her mother. She said her boyfriend isn’t on the lease and all his belongings are at his sister’s residence.

The victim advocate for the police department was unable to reach the alleged victim by phone during the court session, so Grasso was told she cannot return to the Green Street address until his whereabouts are determined. She was warned that if she called the residence and he answered the phone, she would be in violation of her bail conditions.

Grasso’s $1,000 personal recognizance bail was continued, with conditions that include no contact with her boyfriend or with the child listed as an alleged victim. Trial was set for June 5.

Judge denies bail request

A woman who has failed to comply with the sentence requirements of a 2009 Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated conviction asked a Circuit Court-Manchester District Division judge for personal recognizance bail on Thursday.

The police prosecutor asked that the bail continue at the $4,000 set on the electronic bench warrant when Nicole Ottman, 27, of 366 Massabesic St., failed to appear for a hearing.

Ottman told Judge Gregory Michael she needed to get out of jail, saying: “My dad is in the ICU.”

Ottman said she didn’t know when she was supposed to return to court, saying her lawyer didn’t notify her. She also said she hadn’t completed the terms of her sentence.

Michael set a May 15 hearing and set bail at $1,000 cash/surety, saying: “That’s as low as I’ll go.”

Pleads innocent

William Yates, 22, of 246 Main St., pleaded innocent Thursday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division to a misdemeanor charge of violation of a domestic violence protective order that bars contact with a specific woman.

Yates is accused of contacting the woman on Facebook April 12.

The prosecutor sought $1,000 cash/surety bail, noting Yates has convictions that include criminal trespass, willful concealment and simple assault.

Yates asked: “Could I get PR (personal recognizance), please?”

The judge set bail at $1,000 personal recognizance. Trial was set for June 3.

Skipped April 1 hearing

A city man who didn’t show up in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division for a deferred sentence hearing April 1 said Thursday that he still hasn’t complied with the terms of his sentence on a 2012 assault conviction. The terms included a domestic violence evaluation within 45 days.

“It was your agreement,” Judge Gregory Michael reminded Alex Holobinko, 24, of 140 Central St.

Holobinko had also missed his scheduled trial April 1 on charges of operating after suspension and uninspected vehicle.

The judge set bail at $1,000 cash/surety and trial and the hearing were rescheduled for June 3.

May 14 hearing set

Circuit Court-Manchester District Division Judge Gregory Michael listened to Brandon Durdem’s explanation why he, a convicted felon, had a knife in his possession when stopped by police.

Durdem, 27, of 371 Manchester St., said he was walking his girlfriend home and his girlfriend’s mother gave him a knife for protection.

Given Durdem’s criminal history, which includes armed robbery and felon in possession of a weapon, Michael said: “You should know better.”

Police prosecutor Carrissa Pelletier sought $1,500 cash/surety bail, but noted there is a 72-hour probation/parole hold on Durdem.

Durdem said: “I would like to ask for PR (personal recognizance).”

Michael wouldn’t go that far, but set bail at $500 cash/surety. No plea can be entered to a felony in Circuit Court, so a probable cause hearing was set for May 14.

Courts Crime Manchester

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