Jeffrey J. Basil gets into fights, drinks and drives, and knows about the drug culture.
Police in Amherst, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park, Buffalo and Niagara Falls have been aware of him.
That much can be gleaned from Basil’s arrest and conviction record that stretches back 15 years.
So when he arrived in handcuffs in front of Buffalo City Judge Joseph A. Fiorella on Sunday morning on what is his most violent charge to date – first-degree assault – the 35-year-old Amherst man was no stranger to the legal system.
Basil, manager of Molly’s Pub in University Heights, has six prior arrests and convictions, the most serious a felony conviction for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in 2003.
When comparing his arrest record with his convictions, though, it appears that either police overcharged him in those earlier incidents, or judges showed him leniency.
He has been charged on four occasions with felonies, including the most recent, but convicted only once of a felony.
Basil was sentenced to probation for that felony but ended up violating it and was resentenced to a year in jail.
He has been charged twice with felonies related to drinking and driving. One was reduced to a misdemeanor and the other to a violation.
And he was given a conditional discharge for a second-degree harassment conviction that started with a misdemeanor assault charge involving a physical attack.
What’s more, while the felony drug conviction from Cheektowaga legally prevented him from obtaining a liquor license, that conviction and the five other convictions apparently did not prohibit off-duty Buffalo police officers from working for him at Molly’s, the Main Street bar where Williams C. Sager Jr. suffered a massive brain injury a week ago Sunday.
Basil’s first arrest occurred in 1999 when he was 21. The Maryvale High School graduate was charged with misdemeanor criminal contempt for disobeying a Buffalo City Court order. He was convicted of the charge and sentenced to three years’ probation. What led to the contempt charge was not available Sunday.
His next encounter with police was June 20, 2003, the felony drug arrest in Cheektowaga. Originally, he was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, felony criminal possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia (a scale). Although charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor, he ended up with just one felony conviction and probation.
Two years later, he again was in trouble with police, this time in Orchard Park.
He was charged with misdemeanor second-degree aggravated harassment and later convicted of disorderly conduct. He was fined $150, and an order of protection was issued. No other details were available Sunday on that conviction.
Less than a month after he was sentenced for that crime, he was in trouble in Buffalo, where he was picked up Jan. 8, 2006, and accused of felony driving while intoxicated, based on a previous alcohol driving-related conviction. He was convicted two months later of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and sentenced to 90 days in jail, and his license was revoked.
After that, Basil apparently stayed out of trouble with the law for six years. But in June of 2012, he was charged with another felony, refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test for suspected drinking and driving. That charge in Amherst ended up being reduced to a violation, driving while ability impaired from consumption of alcohol. He was fined $300, and his driver’s license was suspended for 90 days.
Six months after he was convicted and sentenced in the Amherst incident, he again was in trouble with police, this time in Niagara Falls. He was accused there of “intent to cause physical harm” to another person and charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault and second-degree harassment. That charge was filed June 19, 2013. Four months later, he had brokered a plea deal and was conditionally discharged in exchange for pleading guilty to misdemeanor second-degree harassment. The conditions he agreed to were not available Sunday, but it is standard court procedure to require defendants to stay out of trouble for a year or face returning to court for resentencing.
In Buffalo City Court on Sunday morning, Basil pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher J. Belling argued against bail for Basil, citing his extensive criminal record. Defense attorney Joel L. Daniels asked that bail be set at $25,000, making a case that Basil voluntarily turned himself into homicide detectives late Saturday afternoon.
Fiorella set bail at $250,000.
News Staff Reporter Matthew Spina contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org