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Officials say hunter was accidentally killed by his own gun


AUSTERLITZ—A Hillsdale man hunting in the Austerlitz woods, was found dead of an accidental gunshot wound, December 6.
Deputy Jeffrey Hofstetter went to assist Spencertown emergency medical personnel along with the Community Rescue Squad, which was summoned to help a hunter who had reportedly fallen from a tree stand was thought to be in cardiac arrest in a wooded area off Route 71 near the Route 22 intersection at about 3:30 p.m., according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.
Rescue personnel found the man, identified as Randolph Seifert, 59, of Hillsdale, formerly of Great Barrington, Mass., and determined he had been dead for a substantial period of time.  
An investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Coroner Angelo Nero and Environmental Conservation Police revealed that Mr. Seifert was hunting December 5.
As he climbed into a tree stand, he hung his 12-gauge shotgun on a hook in the tree through the weapon’s trigger guard.
Investigators say it appears that when he placed the gun on the hook, the hook struck the trigger, causing the weapon to fire a slug that struck Mr. Seifert in the upper part of his body.
The weapon’s safety was not in the safe position.  
Another hunter found Mr. Seifert on the ground at the bottom of the tree the following afternoon. He immediately called 911.
Coroner Nero told The Columbia Paper following the autopsy by Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard at St. Peter’s Hospital, that Mr. Seifert died instantly when the metal slug cut through his spinal chord after entering his right shoulder. The gun was pointing down at him as he climbed the tree, said the coroner. He had been dead about 24 hours.
On the scene in addition to Coroner Nero and Deputy Hofstetter, were Sergeant Michael Merante, Senior Investigator Kevin Skype, Investigator Anthony Brahm, Undersheriff James Sweet, Captain David Bartlett, Environmental Conservation Officer Peter Brinkerhoff and EnCon Investigator Jesse Paluch.  
The Sheriff’s Office utility all-terrain-vehicle was brought to the scene and was used in addition to an ATV owned by the Austerlitz Fire District. Both vehicles were used to bring law enforcement personnel and equipment to the scene about a half mile from Route 71.
The former president of a Greenport-based credit union has been charged with stealing $26,000 from shareholders, following an eight-month investigation by Livingston State Police.
Investigators charged Amy Shufelt-Cure, 40, with third degree grand larceny, first degree scheme to defraud, first degree possession of a forged instrument, all felonies, and issuing a false financial statement, a misdemeanor, December 4.
All charges stem from her employment as former president of the Columbia-Greene Federal Credit Union.
Credit Union officials reported improprieties to State Police, which resulted in a forensic audit by the State Police Financial Crime Unit.
The audit determined that Ms. Shufelt-Cure had abused her powers and defrauded the company and its shareholders out of more than $26,000, according to State Police.
She was arraigned in Greenport Court before Justice Robert Brenzel and released on her own recognizance pending a future court appearance.
*As the result of an eight-month investigation, Livingston State Police charged a Queens woman with stealing the identity of a Greenport resident.
Noreen Perry, 57, a resident alien from Guyana, living in Queens, was charged with the felony first degree identity theft, December 4.
An investigation began when a Greenport woman ran into trouble applying for a mortgage. Further investigation revealed that Ms. Perry allegedly had been using the Greenport woman’s Social Security number since 1988 when she purchased it in New York City for $100.
During the period between 1988 and 2002, Ms. Perry was able to get a $300,000 mortgage for her Queens home.  Ms. Perry was arrested in NYC and turned over to the Livingston State Police investigators.
She was arraigned in Greenport Court before Town Justice Robert Brenzel and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bail bond and is scheduled to reappear in court December 11.
New Lebanon
Jennifer C. Long, 27, of Pittsfield, Mass. was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and possession of a hypodermic instrument by New Lebanon State Police, December 2, at 7 p.m.
A passerby reported seeing a driver operating erratically on Route 20. Trooper Christopher Zlomek stopped the vehicle for several vehicle and traffic violations. Troopers Dillard Waring and Ian Jackson also assisted with stop.
Their investigation revealed that Ms. Long was driving with a suspended license.  As the driver looked for her ID in the vehicle, troopers say she told them that she had to be careful, there might be needles in the vehicle. Troopers say they subsequently found four hypodermic needles and five packets of heroin.
Ms. Long was arraigned in New Lebanon Court and released on $1,000 cash bail. She is set to reappear December 17.
To contact Diane Valden email

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