Arthur Basso. Courtesy of the sheriff's office

Freeville, N.Y. — A man has pleaded guilty to a felony after his girlfriend was found dead on the shoulder of a road in Tompkins County in November 2013.

Arthur Basso, 36, was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Basso said that his girlfriend — Crystal Grobelny, 31, of Moravia — voluntarily left his moving vehicle, according to court documents.

Basso faces six months in jail, five years of probation and a $1,000 fine under a plea deal reached with prosecutors earlier this month.

Basso changes story

Basso was brought to the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office shortly after Grobelny was found at around 7:05 a.m. on Nov. 10 near the intersection of West Dryden Road and Caswell Road by two passersby.

Basso told police that he hadn’t seen his girlfriend since the night before. He said that he had left her at the Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland.

But later on in the interview, according to court documents, Basso changed his story.

He then admitted that they had left the lodge together in his vehicle. He said that the girlfriend had “exited the vehicle while it was moving,” records say.

Arthur Basso. Courtesy of the sheriff’s office

“Basso further stated that he looked for the woman after she exited the vehicle, but when he could not find her, he went back to his residence in Moravia, NY, to sleep,” court documents submitted by prosecutors say. “The defendant acknowledged that he did not report the incident.”

Grobelny was a mother raising a 6-year-old daughter. Her parents later told Syracuse.com that she had wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement

On Oct. 2, Basso entered into the plea deal, according to court documents. His court date — scheduled for today — was canceled as a result.

Court documents do not explain how or why Grobelny got out of the moving vehicle. She was dead by the time law enforcement arrived.

Defense tries to dismiss evidence

Basso’s lawyer, Ithaca attorney James Baker, tried getting the charges dismissed with a series of reasons.

Here are six of the claims Baker made:

— The grand jury proceeding against Basso occurred without the right number of jurors.
— Documents were improperly subpoenaed.
— The prosecutor “injected his personal opinions or beliefs” into the grand jury hearings.
— The prosecutor presented hearsay evidence.
— The prosecution didn’t call a witness who the grand jury asked to hear from.
— Basso’s statements were obtained “in violation of the defendants’ privilege against self-incrimination.”

Prosecutors later responded that there was nothing wrong with the grand jury proceeding and that Basso had willingly consented to a search of his cell phone.

Criminal record

Here’s Basso’s criminal record, according to prosecutors:
— DWAI in Moravia in 1998.
— A $100 fine for public lewdness in October 2004.
— 3 years of probation in June 2005 for a DWI conviction in Cayuga County.

1 year anniversary

According to court documents, Basso admitted the following to police:

— He and Grobelny had been celebrating their 1 year anniversary that night. They were driving in his 1990 Van.
— Grobelny was in the front passenger seat.
— “The defendant doesn’t believe he even had time to slow down prior to her getting out.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.