Woman convicted in federal court of assaulting border agent near Massena
A jury voted yesterday to convict Catherine M. Melhuish, 34, Watertown, of assaulting a federal border officer in St. Lawrence County, following a four-day trial.
She was accused of spitting at and biting the hand of an officer investigating her presence on State Rt. 37 near the U.S.-Canada border.Melhuish, a lawful permanent resident of the United States and citizen of Canada, assaulted a border patrol agent at approximately 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, according to the press release from federal district court in Albany.
The agent encountered Melhuish while responding to a request from the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, which had been contacted by members of the public about a woman wearing dark clothing and walking on State Route 37 near the border, the press statement said.
The agent asked Melhuish for her identification, which she provided. The agent touched Melhuish’s hand when he said he reached out to steady the identification so he could read it. Melhuish became agitated, spit in the agent’s face and bit the agent’s hand, he said.
“Today’s conviction demonstrates our commitment to enforcing federal laws that protect those who protect and serve our country and communities, such as the U.S. Border Patrol Agent assaulted by the defendant,” United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith said.
U.S. Border Patrol Swanton Sector Deputy Chief Patrol Agent William Maddocks stated: “Swanton Sector appreciates the support of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York in their diligent prosecution of this case. This conviction shows that assaults on law enforcement will not be tolerated.”
Melhuish will be sentenced Feb. 19 by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.
This case was investigated by the United States Border Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Gadarian.
The announcement of the conviction was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and William Maddocks, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, Swanton Sector.