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Shooting accomplice could draw 25 years Cochran to get break in Pitliangas slaying

A judge told Travis E. Cochran Friday that he faces up to 25 years in prison for his role as an accessory in the killing of restaurant owner George Pitliangas and for shooting a Kenmore store clerk during an earlier robbery.

Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico told Cochran, 22, of Mariner Street he will spare him the 50-year prison term he could receive on his guilty pleas to attempted murder and robbery because he was never accused of being the gunman in the Pitliangas murder.

Cochran has been jailed since he returned from Kentucky several weeks after the July 10 arrest of his associate, Ahmir Cole, who faces trial in the fatal shooting of Pitliangas. Cochran told the judge he only "took a cell phone" after Pitliangas was shot during a late-afternoon stickup April 14.

Cochran was allowed to plead guilty to first-degree robbery of Tony's Ranch House in Buffalo.

But he also admitted shooting clerk Salah "Sal" Ahmed, 28, during a robbery at The Corner Store at Delaware and Euclid avenues in Kenmore on April 5.

Prosecutors Christopher J. Belling and Nora Robshaw insisted that Cochran plead guilty to an attempted murder charge in the Kenmore shooting. They told the judge that plea on top of the robbery plea in the fatal shooting provided sufficient basis to punish Cochran.

Cole, 23, a former standout football player at Seneca High School and Buffalo State College, is charged in connection with the Pitliangas killing, the April 5 shooting and a May 7 robbery-shooting outside the Groove Night Club on Pearl Street.

Cole has been in jail since May 29, when police arrested him on a drug possession charge.

Cochran was remanded Friday by D'Amico, who scheduled his sentencing for April 5.


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