SHERIDAN - After months of court dates and protests outside the Sheridan court, a trial date has been set for the corrections officer accused of domestic violence charges.
William Prost, 52, of Stone Quarry Road, Fredonia is charged with two misdemeanors, third-degree assault and criminal obstruction of breathing after an alleged domestic incident on May 8. It is alleged Prost struck his live-in girlfriend in the face and covered her mouth and nose with his hand, preventing her from breathing. Both charges are class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison under New York State penal code and/or up to three years of probation. There is no minimum sentence, which is left to the discretion of the judge.
Prost's lawyer, Attorney John Schober, appeared in lieu of his client per an arrangement made with the court at an earlier hearing. Schober met with Judge Lydia Romer and the new Assistant District Attorney (D.A.) Greg Drab.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Protesters against domestic violence assembled once again outside the Sheridan Town Court while waiting for a trial date to be set for William Prost, a corrections officer accused of domestic violence charges.
Drab replaced Assistant D.A. Randi Brown, who had been working on the case until she moved to Florida last month. "You've gotten up to speed on this very quickly. ... This has been going on for a while and we do need to get it taken care of," Judge Romer told Drab.
As on other court nights for Prost, protesters against domestic violence assembled with signs across the street from the courthouse on the corner of Route 20 and Center Road. Honking horns could be heard throughout the night's court proceedings as cars passed by and acknowledged the protesters.
The trial, expected to take two or three hours, is set for Nov. 6 at 9 a.m. Schober requested a non-jury trial, which means Romer will hold the sole decision on guilt or innocence. Both sides are expected to present witnesses.
The date was chosen because Romer works during the daytime throughout most weeks, but has the day off for Election Day, a state holiday. Schober and Drab had other evening conflicts.
After coming to an agreement with the lawyer and the D.A., Romer took time to explain the decision to the protesters and why the date and time was chosen. She then explained, "It will be an open court room. You are welcome to attend. You will not be able to speak at the trial, but you are welcome to come and observe."