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State Corrections officer accused of assaulting inmate accepts plea deal

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - 51 year old Michael Wehby of Frankfort had been a New York State Corrections Officer for 23 1/2 years before being accused of assaulting an inmate back in January 2010 at the Midstate Correctional Facility in Marcy.

Now, he will get to retire with is full pension package intact, despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Monday morning.

Wehby went to trial back in June in Oneida County Court in Utica to face three separate assault charges of inmate Jose Rivera and the jury came back with a partial verdict.

They found Wehby not-guilty of two felony assault charges, but told Judge Michael Dwyer they couldn't reach a decision on the third charge of misdemeanor assault.

On Monday morning, Wehby pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of official misconduct instead of misdimeanor assault in exchange for retiring from his position as a state corrections officer. The plea agreement means Wehby will be able to retire and receive his full pension from the state.

Also as part of the agreement, even though he was short a year and a half to be eligible for full benefits, the state will allow the time Wehby was on administrative leave to be included in his service, thus getting him very close to his necessary 25 years. Even with his time on administrative leave, that still leaves him short, but as part of the plea deal, he will work with the state to serve in some capacity other than a corrections officer to fulfill the remaining time.

Wehby's defense attorney Michael Daley says those details are still being worked out.

Prosecutor Kurt Hameline says the state could have re-tried Wehby on that one misdemeanor count, but both sides agreed to a plea deal. Hameline says the major stipulation was to no longer allow Wheby to be a corrections officer.

"He's technically employed," Hameline said. "He's suspended right now, and part of the disposition was he were to retire from his position, that he no longer work as a corrections officer. That was part of the agreement that we reached when we talked about the plea."

Daley says going to trial again wasn't worth the risk of Wehby losing his pension over.

"Despite the fact that we believed that at trial, we would prevail, we could not take the risk, that if in the event he was convicted, he could not be able to retire," Daley said.

Wehby was also employed part-time as a Town of Frankfort Police Officer, when he was charged with assault. He had been on unpaid administrative leave from Frankfort, pending the outcome of this case.

We tried to find out from Town of Frankfort police officials on Wehby's status now that he has pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of official misconduct, and are awaiting a call back.

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