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Prisoner in Canada being prosecuted in 2 WNY courts Counts from '04 spree include kidnapping, firing at an officer

A man who led police on a cross-border chase Feb. 18, 2004, now is being prosecuted in Niagara and Erie counties for his alleged actions that day in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Cornelius Cross, 32, formerly of Fernhill Avenue, Buffalo, is serving a 12-year Canadian prison term for striking and killing a pedestrian in Niagara Falls, Ont., that day.

He appeared in Niagara County Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to two counts each of first-degree robbery and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and single counts of second-degree weapons possession and resisting arrest.

Cross was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Buffalo on Oct. 6 and pleaded not guilty to first-degree robbery and second-degree kidnapping.

In June 2005, a Welland, Ont., judge sentenced Cross to 12 years after he pleaded guilty to causing death while driving impaired, attempted murder of a police officer and weapons charges. Cross told Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza Thursday that he's not eligible for parole in Ontario until 2014.

After a lengthy extradition process, Cross is in the Erie County Holding Center without bail to answer charges on this side of the border.

Police reported at the time that Cross had allegedly held his then 28-year-old ex-girlfriend against her will in a home on Alma Avenue in Buffalo for five days in February 2004, beating her and threatening to shoot her.

It was the climax of a nine-month period of harassment that included a shooting incident Oct. 26, 2003, in which Cross allegedly fired three shots at a man who was visiting his ex. The man was grazed by two bullets.

The woman escaped from the Alma Avenue house about 3 p.m. Feb. 18, 2004, and went to the Northeast District police station with Cross following her. There were reports that Cross waited in the lobby for a while. He then allegedly hijacked a car at gunpoint at an auto parts store next to the police station and stuffed the driver, a Lackawanna man, into the trunk.

He abandoned the vehicle on the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls -- the Lackawanna man was freed from the trunk by police -- but Cross allegedly soon stole another vehicle.

That was a truck belonging to a man who was installing a satellite dish at a home on Lafayette Avenue in Niagara Falls, according to Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell.

Niagara Falls police gave chase as the stolen truck sped through the border inspection station at the Rainbow Bridge and into Niagara Falls, Ont., with Niagara Falls officers also failing to stop at customs as they kept up the chase for a short distance before turning around.

Niagara Regional Police said the truck struck two parked vehicles before running over Lori Bishop, 40, of Niagara Falls, Ont., as she stepped out of her car on Victoria Avenue.

Cross fired a gunshot at a Canadian policeman who tried to arrest him after he crashed the truck into a snowbank. Several officers eventually wrestled the .38-caliber handgun away from him. They said Cross was drunk during the 3 1/2 -hour crime spree.


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