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MAN FOUND GUILTY IN FATAL SHOOTING

Jarmell "Dirty" Austin was convicted Monday of shooting a Langfield Drive "good Samaritan" after he tried to break up a post-funeral dice game.

A State Supreme Court jury found Austin, 24, guilty as charged on second-degree attempted murder and weapons charges for the shooting of Jamal Watts, now 28, at about 8 p.m. July 2, 2003. The jury also convicted Austin of two felony assault charges, one for the shooting of Watts and one for breaking the nose of a second man by hitting him with the pistol.

Austin, a Ruspin Avenue resident, still faces trial on unrelated handgun and escape charges linked to his capture last June.

Austin's sister had testified that her brother was in her Bailey Avenue home at the time of the Edison Avenue shooting. The defendant did not testify.

Austin shot Watts three times in the back of the neck and chest as the victim was trying to break up a dice game fight. Justice Christopher J. Burns set sentencing for July 12.

The shooting took place during a party attended by about 150 people who, earlier that day, had attended the double funeral of two Buffalo boys killed in a car crash. The shooting has left Watts a paraplegic who cannot speak and has severe memory loss, said prosecutor James F. Bargnesi.

Bargnesi called a 30-year-old man to testify who identified Austin as the man who shot Watts three times and then fled. Court officials asked the news media not to identify that eyewitness.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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