Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.MAYVILLE – A Village of Mayville man will spend more than 10-years behind bars in connection with a 2008 cold case.Outgoing Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson tells WNY News Now 33-year-old Rance Freeman was sentenced Wednesday before Judge Susan M. Eagan to 14 years behind bars and five years post-release supervision in the killing of 55-year-old Westfield resident Jeffrey Johnson.“We’re very happy that that case is over,” Swanson said. “On a personal note, I’m happy I was able to see that case through before leaving office tomorrow. I know the family of the victim (Johnson) is pleased. I know the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, their investigative division that worked so hard to put this case together after 12 years, we’re just happy with the disposition.”Freeman, as part of a plea deal earlier this year, will serve time for first-degree manslaughter. Johnson was found dead at his Main Street home in Westfield more than a decade ago.Swanson, following Freeman’s indictment, was unable to comment on the particulars of the case. The prosecutor, following sentencing, elaborated on the investigation.Freeman was “friendly” with Johnson, often times helping Johnson out with household chores and providing transportation to various appointments, according to Swanson.Swanson says, on the day of Johnson’s death, Freeman took him to the CVS Pharmacy in Westfield to fill a prescription of hydrocodone pills. At that time, Swanson says that patients could receive a three-months supply, or 120 pills, of hydrocodone.“We think that was the catalyst for this homicide,” Swanson said. “Mr. Freeman was using hydrocodone pills, according to all the witnesses we spoke with, he was there at the house with Mr. Johnson later that day.”Swanson says another friend came by and three people were there. The attorney adds that Freeman and the third part had left, with the belief that Freeman came back and struck Johnson in the back of the head at least two-to-three times before taking the pills.Swanson says Freeman attended a party later that night with a “quantity” of hydrocodone pills that he was passing out.“That was abnormal for Mr. Freeman to do,” Swanson said. “Sometimes he’d sell him, but he never had that quantity of pills.”DNA evidence linking Freeman to the murder weapon was discovered in 2008, but Swanson says the evidence wasn’t “substantial enough” for then-District Attorney David Foley to advance the case. Swanson, however, says technology called “STRmix” allowed investigators to rule out a third party link to the DNA mixture belonging to Johnson and Freeman.WNYNewsNow asked Swanson why he eventually offered a first-degree manslaughter plea when Freeman was indicted on second-degree murder. He says a 2nd degree murder charge would’ve been “difficult” to secure.“Whenever you have a homicide, you’re going to look at potentially negotiating that case,” Swanson said. “In this situation, you have a 12-year-old case where a number of the witnesses in this case were either in jail. One of the witnesses was deceased. It would’ve been a difficult case to try and get a murder two conviction, so we worked hard to find a resolution that was satisfying to the two children of the deceased, Mr. Johnson.”“We negotiated in an effort to allow closure and finality,” he added. Swanson says that Freeman waived his right to appeal.Since Freeman’s arrest in 2018 the Westfield Police Department and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the cold case.
Megan Hilty Star Files Some of Broadway’s finest are about to make our craziest dream role fantasies come true when they join MCC Theater’s annual Miscast gala on March 31. Kinky Boots Tony winner Billy Porter, Jeremy Jordan, Megan Hilty and Raul Esparza are joining an already impressive lineup as they perform songs from roles in which they would never be cast.The four performers will join the previously announced Zosia Mamet, Christian Borle, Anika Noni Rose, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Steven Pasquale, Jesse L. Martin, Sasha Allen, Keala Settle and Nicole Parker. The event, honoring Emmy winner and Tony nominee Allison Janney, will be hosted by Victor Garber.Our imaginations are already running wild trying to think of what this powerhouse group has in store. Last year, Jeremy Jordan took the Miscast stage with Jonathan Groff and performed the Smash showstopper “Let Me Be Your Star,” complete with Marilyn wigs. Perhaps this year we’ll get a reunion with co-star Megan Hilty? Whatever happens, we know we can’t miss Miscast. View Comments
Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on July 27, 2014 Of Mice and Men James Franco Star Files What does a Grammy-winning fashionista wear to see a Broadway show? If she’s Lady Gaga, she throws on a pink hat and matching fuzzy jumper. Oh, and obviously a dog purse. The superstar made a splash at the Longacre Theatre on March 29 (the day after her 28th birthday) when she saw Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Parrack. After the show, Gaga and her boyfriend Taylor Kinney (left) headed backstage to hang out with Franco and Parrack. Franco posted this star-studded shot to Instagram, with the caption: “LADY GAGA CAME AND LOVED IT!” Check out the behind-the-scenes photo, then see Of Mice and Men on Broadway, opening April 16!
View Comments A snowman might prove difficult to build in this show. Frozen songwriter and EGOT-er Robert Lopez appeared on 11Alive in Atlanta, Georgia, where a re-imagined version of his early hit 1001 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories is currently making its national debut at the Center for Puppetry Arts. We’ve heard Jonathan Groff sing a song from the show before, but now watch Lopez talk about how 1001 Nights is a definitely more family-friendly project than his co-creations Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. Here’s hoping we get to see its genies, jesters, 50 thieves and of course, Lopez’s catchy tunes, on Broadway soon!
A Delicate Balance Glenn Close Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 22, 2015 John Lithgow The cast is set for the Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. Tony winner John Lithgow and nominee Martha Plimpton will join the previously speculated three-time Tony winner Glenn Close in the Pam MacKinnon-helmed project. They will be joined by Tony winner Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban and Olivier winner Clare Higgins. The limited engagement will run for 18 weeks beginning October 20 at the Golden Theatre. Opening night is set for November 20.A Delicate Balance follows Agnes (Close) and Tobias (Lithgow), a long-married couple who must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year-old daughter (Plimpton) following the collapse of her fourth marriage. They must also give shelter to their friends (Balaban and Higgins), all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic sister Claire (Duncan). Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play was first seen on the Great White Way in 1966 and was later revived by Lincoln Center in 1996, starring Elaine Stritch.A Delicate Balance will mark Close’s return to the Great White Way after 17 years. The six-time Oscar nominee received Tony awards for her performances in Sunset Boulevard, The Real Thing and Death and the Maiden.Lithgow won Tony awards for his performances in The Changing Room and Sweet Smell of Success; his additional Broadway credits include The Columnist, All My Songs and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He received Oscar nominations for The World According to Garb and Terms of Endearment. He will star in King Lear this summer in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production.Plimpton recently starred in the London premiere of Other Desert Cities. She was nominated for a Tony award for her performances in Pal Joey, Top Girls and The Coast of Utopia. Additionally, she has appeared on Broadway in Cymbeline, Shining City and Sixteen Wounded.Duncan took home the Tony for Private Lives and Les Liaisons Dangeruses, and has appeared on stage in London in productions that include Hay Fever, That Face, Mouth to Mouth and The Homecoming. Balaban’s Broadway credits include Plaza Suite, Speed-the-Plow and The Inspector General (for which he received a Tony nod). Higgins has three Olivier Awards to her name for her performances in Vincent in Brixton, Sweet Bird of Youth and Hecuba. She was nominated for a Tony for Vincent in Brixton.The play will feature scenic design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Ann Roth and lighting design by Brian MacDevitt. Star Files Martha Plimpton View Comments Related Shows
Show Closed This production ended its run on June 14, 2014 Star Files Tony Shalhoub Related Shows Santino Fontana The winners of the 2014 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards have officially been announced, and Act One nabbed this year’s trophy for Favorite New Play! Written and directed by James Lapine, the stage adaptation of Moss Hart’s autobiography features Santino Fontana (who is no stranger to winning BACA trophies, we might add), Tony Shalhoub and Matthew Schechter, all as the legendary playwright and director in different stages of his life. Check out these sweet shots of the cast accepting their brand new award—awesome work, fans! View Comments Act One
Related Shows There’s a new Berry in town! Broadway alum Josh Tower steps into Motown the Musical on Broadway beginning June 17. Tower replaces Brandon Victor Dixon, who played his final performance on June 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 18, 2015 View Comments Motown The Musical Tower has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King and Ragtime. His additional stage credits include Langston in Harlem, Murder Ballad, Miss Saigon, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables, Chess and Camelot. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and featuring a book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Motown The Musical is a journey through the history of the world’s most famous record label. With a score that includes over 50 beloved hits from the Motown catalogue, the show tells the story of Gordy’s rise from small-town dreamer to big-time record mogul. In addition to Tower, Motown The Musical currently stars Krystal Joy Brown as Diana Ross, Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson and Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye.
Related Shows Les Miserables Following visa complications, Earl Carpenter has delayed his first performance as Javert in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables. Originally scheduled to begin performances on August 12, the British star will now take his first bow at the Imperial Theatre on August 15. Adam Monley will continue to play the role through Carpenter’s start date. Will Swenson, who temporarily left the production to star in Bull Durham in Atlanta, will return to the Schönberg and Boublil musical on October 5. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016 View Comments Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, the production also features Karimloo as Jean Valjean, Caissie Levy as Fantine, Nikki M. James as Eponine, Andy Mientus as Marius, Samantha Hill as Cosette, Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras and Cliff Saunders and Keala Settle as the Thenardiers. Carpenter recently performed as Javert in the Toronto production of Les Miz opposite Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo. He began his West End career in Les Miz at the Palace Theatre in 1996 as Courfeyrac. In 2008, he played the part of Javert at the Queens Theatre and then in the 25th Anniversary U.K tour. He was then the Bishop of Digne at London’s O2 Arena concert in 2010. His additional West End, U.K. and European stage credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, We Will Rock You, Zorro, Sunset Boulevard, Beauty and the Beast, The Secret Garden, The Merry Widow, Between the Lines and The Witches of Eastwick.
View Comments Broadway favorite and Glee star Matthew Morrison married Renee Puente On October 18 in an intimate ceremony attended by 50 family and friends. According to People magazine, the pair tied the knot on the island of Maui. Morrison was Tony-nominated for The Light In The Piazza. His other Broadway credits include Footloose, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hairspray and South Pacific. Speculation is rife that he will be leading the upcoming production of Finding Neverland on the Great White Way. Morrison was attired in Brooks Brothers, while model Puente wore Gustavo Cadile. Musical performances included one from the happy couple themselves, who sang Laura Benanti’s “Starry Eyed/Video Games.”
Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 22, 2015 An ordinary man who did extraordinary things. Tom Dugan’s spy thriller Wiesenthal officially opens at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row on November 5. Dugan also makes his New York stage debut starring in the show, which is based on the true story of Simon Wiesenthal. Nicknamed the “Jewish James Bond,” Wiesenthal escaped death at the hands of Hitler’s S.S., lost 89 family members, and devoted more than six decades to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. Part memoir and part spy thriller, Dugan’s play introduces us to Wiesenthal on the day before his retirement as he welcomes his final group of Americans to his office in The Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. Related Shows Wiesenthal View Comments Directed by Jenny Sullivan, the off-Broadway production will run through through February 1, 2015.