Man who choked prostitute and menaced cops with gun sentenced to prison

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Donald Lemish, 51, was sentenced to one to three years in state prison, and had his pistol permit revoked after entering a guilty plea to felony menacing of a police officer before Dutchess County Court Judge Jessica Segal in October.  Lemish was sentenced on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

On February 19, Lemish had a prostitute in his house on Bayberry Street in Hopewell Junction.  At approximately 11:15 p.m., while inside the residence, Lemish attempted to engage the escort in sexual
intercourse. When she declined his advances, Lemish pushed down on her and began strangling her. She fought back and broke free from his grasp. Lemish then pointed a 9mm Smith and Wesson M&P handgun at the prostitute’s head and ordered her to leave.

Once outside, the woman called 911 to report the incident.  Police from East Fishkill, New York State Police, and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office responded in marked patrol cars.  Lemish opened the door and pointed what appeared to be an assault-style rifle at the officers.  The confrontation resulted in a seven-hour standoff until Lemish ultimately surrendered without incident.  After the standoff ended, officers determined that the weapon Lemish pointed at them was a pneumatic air rifle.

“Frankly, Mr. Lemish is lucky to be alive,” said Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Scott Johnson.  “The police exercised tremendous restraint when dealing with him in those initial, terrifying moments and over the course of the next seven hours, which is how long it took for police to negotiate Mr. Lemish’s peaceful surrender.”  Johnson noted that it was a costly night, saying ” I can only imagine how many officers and how many thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds Mr. Lemish caused to be diverted because of the choices that he made that day.”