PENN YAN — Yates County’s district attorney is blasting the state’s bail reform measures after a man accused of burglarizing several Mennonite homes last year died from a recent drug overdose.

In an email to the Times, Todd Casella said Christopher Hearn died from an overdose last Thursday in Dundee. While Hearn was listed with a Rochester address when he was arrested last fall, Casella said Hearn had been living in Dundee while his case was going through the court system.

“He was just in court Tuesday [Feb. 11] for motions arguments, alive and well,” Casella said, adding that a pretrial hearing was scheduled for April and a trial in the case was likely.

Hearn and a Macedon man, Michael Carr, were arrested last October by county sheriff’s investigators following several burglaries in January 2019 at Mennonite homes in Benton and Potter. Sheriff Ron Spike said the burglaries happened on a Sunday, when the residents were at church.

Spike referred to Hearn, 35, and Carr, 34, as friends. They later were indicted by a county grand jury on charges of burglary and grand larceny.

Casella said Hearn and Carr were remanded to jail in lieu of significant bail but released in late December due to the state’s bail reform legislation, which took effect Jan. 1.

“This is a fine example of how bail reform is not just a threat to the public from repeat offenders, but a threat to defendants who get released,” Casella said. “No justice for the victims, no justice for the defendant, and a funeral for the defendant’s family. There are no winners with this bail reform statute as written. Just one avoidable tragedy after another.”

Casella said a trial for Carr is scheduled in May.

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