WHEATFIELD — The grand larceny case against Pendleton Highway Superintendent Jeffrey Stowell may end up before a Niagara Country grand jury.
A hearing in Wheatfield Town Court on Tuesday night was adjourned after prosecutors indicated to Stowell’s defense attorney that they were “screening the case for the (currently sitting January) grand jury.” Presenting the case to the grand jury would allow prosecutors additional time to review evidence and potentially add charges to those that Stowell is already facing.
Stowell, 59, has been charged with third-degree grand larceny, three counts of petit larceny and official misconduct in connection with claims that he stole town property and directed town employees to work on his personal property.
Stowell was arraigned in Pendleton Town Court on Dec. 6 and released on his own recognizance. The case was then transferred to the Wheatfield court when Pendleton town justices recused themselves.
Wheatfield Justice Angela Stamm-Philipps set a new hearing date of Jan. 28.
“We’ll see what (prosecutors) say then,” defense attorney George Muscato told the judge.
Stowell is accused of taking 72 tons of Suit-Kote stone/material that had been purchased by the town and was valued at more than $12,800. He is also accused of purchasing a vehicle battery, windshield wipers and a headlight at a NAPA store and then billing the town.
Prosecutors leveled the official misconduct charge based on accusations that Stowell directed town employees to transport the Suit-Kote material to his Campbell Boulevard home on Nov. 27.
Stowell has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Muscato said the town maintains a list of people who can use materials, like Suit-Kote, when the town needs to dispose of it. He said the town will even deliver the materials for a fee per load.
The defense attorney said Stowell had the material delivered to his house and fully intended to pay for the delivery. Muscato also characterized the material as “valueless.”
“Once this stuff has been exposed to the elements it’s useless,” he said.