Attacker Called 911 on Himself
A 24-year-old Springs man who was recently released from jail was back in custody this week after being arrested by East Hampton Town police last Thursday night on multiple charges, including assault as a misdemeanor and a felony count of criminal mischief.
The alleged victim, Samantha Cucunuba, told police that she had been drinking beer and watching television with Christopher Verity when he became agitated about a text message she had received earlier that day. He allegedly picked up a case of beer that still had several bottles in it, and hurled it at her. When she went to get her cellphone, she realized that it was now in Mr. Verity’s possession, she told police. He allegedly destroyed her phone, leading to the felony charge.
He then allegedly attacked her. “He slammed her to the ground on her right side,” the police said, fell on top of her, and began biting her repeatedly, first on her face, then on her right arm as she tried to fend him off. He then went out the front door and dialed 911 using his own phone.
The injuries Ms. Cucunuba sustained that night required a trip to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital for treatment. It was there that she gave her statement to the police.
When Mr. Verity was questioned, he replied, “Yes, I bit her. Just arrest me now,” police said.
The current charges may spark resentencing — and, potentially, jail time — for a November 2016 felony drunken driving conviction; in that case he pleaded guilty in Superior Court and was allowed to enter a drug treatment program. He was arrested at least four times last year, and has four open cases in East Hampton Town Justice Court, which could result in further additional jail time. He has numerous convictions in East Hampton, including reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and criminal tampering.
Because Mr. Verity has been charged with a felony, the district attorney’s office had until the end of the day yesterday to obtain an indictment or release Mr. Verity from custody. According to statements made in court yesterday, he was released.
A Montauk woman who allegedly bound and beat a minor in her care remained in custody yesterday morning, after being arrested Tuesday. Elida Uribe-Benzant, 32, has been charged with assault with intent to cause serious injury as a felony, two misdemeanor counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child, and a misdemeanor count of unlawful imprisonment. According to the police, the assault took place over a three-hour span of time Sunday.
The alleged victim, a teenager, told police that Ms. Uribe-Benzant was angry about another teen the youth was involved with and began slapping her, before beating her with an extension cord, which she then used to tie her to a chair. Ms. Uribe-Benzant is also alleged to have struck the teen repeatedly with a knife sharpener.
The teen, along with another minor in Ms. Uribe-Benzant’s care, confided to a school counselor on Monday, who in turn contacted the police.
During Ms. Uribe-Benzant’s arraignment Tuesday, East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky issued a stay-away order of protection for the minors. He said that the district attorney’s office had asked bail to be set at $50,000. Cynthia Darrell, an attorney from the Legal Aid Society on hand to represent Ms. Uribe-Benzant, in making her argument for a lower bail amount, said that the defendant was a single mother who had given birth when she was only 17 and had raised her family “with no support from the father.” She said that Ms. Uribe-Benzant would fully cooperate with the court and the county’s child protection services, and that a high bail “will only assure her incarceration.”
Justice Tekulsky cited the seriousness of the charges as he set bail at $20,000. If she doesn’t make bail by the end of the day Friday, and the district attorney’s office has not obtained an indictment from a grand jury, Ms. Uribe-Benzant will be released, under state law that covers such circumstances.