Delaware County men face new charges

·3 min read

Aug. 31—Two Delaware County men, who are facing charges in the connection with two separate deaths, were recently arrested in connection with a March burglary, State Police announced.

Justin Valk, 46, of Davenport, and Adam Bright, 39, of East Meredith, were the last two suspects arrested in connection with a March theft of an ATV and other items from a Harpersfield residence, Troop C Public Information Officer Trooper Aga Dembinska said in an email.

State Police at Oneonta responded to a report of three men loading an ATV into a U-Haul at Valley Stream Mobile Home Park on March 26, she said. After an investigation, troopers learned that Jerry O'Dell, 39 of Oneonta, had driven a vehicle that was reported as stolen to the location. While interviewing O'Dell, troopers observed that he appeared impaired and he was found to be in possession of suspected illegal drugs, she said. O'Dell was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class D felony; first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, a class E felony; driving while impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor; and criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Troopers also arrested Rodger Gilbertson, 52, of Oneonta, on March 26, and charged him with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, she said. A third man was issued traffic tickets. His name was not released per State Police policy, she said.

Troopers investigated the case further and found that the ATV had been taken from a garage on county Route 30 in the town of Harpersfield.

The owner of the ATV reported that his garage had been broken into and several items, including the ATV had been stolen, she said.

After an investigation, five men were arrested for their roles into the break-in and were charged with second-degree burglary, a class C felony, she said. Arrested were: Gilbertson, O'Dell, Valk, Bright and Andrew Kreger, 29, of Oneonta. Kreger was additionally charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a class D felony and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property after he was found in possession of a forged check from the burglary, she said.

According to Delaware County District Attorney John Hubbard, the Harpersfield Town Court held a preliminary hearing on the burglary case for Valk on Aug. 15, and the court found there was enough evidence to hold him for a grand jury hearing. Valk also went before the Davenport Town Court on Aug. 22, for a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a class E felony and second-degree manslaughter, a class C felony. The court found reasonable cause to present the case to a grand jury, Hubbard said.

According to a State Police media release, troopers responded to a residence on Pine Cliff Circle in Davenport on Aug. 1, for a medical event involving Stephanie J. Valk, 47. Valk was transported to a local hospital for medical care and was pronounced dead at the hospital on Aug. 3, police said.

Troopers said an investigation into the death revealed that Justin Valk was aware that Stephanie Valk was suffering from the medical event and he inflicted additional physical harm, and failed to call for medical assistance.

Bright is scheduled to appear in Harpersfield Town Court on Sept. 6, Hubbard said.

He said Bright appeared at the Davenport Town Court on Aug. 24, for a felony hearing after he was charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a May 26 head-on collision that resulted in the death of Stacey M. Stachow.

Hubbard said Bright was remanded to the Delaware County Correctional facility without bail.

"These are serious cases," Hubbard said. He said the next step for his office is to present the cases before the grand jury for indictments. He said Chief Assistant District Attorney Shawn Smith will try both cases.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.