Share this article

print logo


Falls native pleads guilty, gets jail in overdose death

A Niagara Falls native accused of murder in the overdose death of a North Carolina police chief's daughter pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

Prosecutors agreed to let Michael Harvey, 37, plead guilty to lesser charges after consulting with the victim's father, Merl Hamilton, former police chief of the Charlotte-area city of Concord.

Harvey was sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter, being a habitual felon and concealing the death of Valerie Hamilton, 23, in September 2010. The preschool teacher and swim instructor's body was found stuffed in a Charlotte self-storage unit two days before Harvey was arrested near his boyhood home.

Prosecutors said Hamilton left a Charlotte bar with Harvey and the pair went back to his home, where they used heroin. An autopsy determined she died from a combination of cocaine and heroin and pathologists noted a needle mark on her right arm. Harvey said Hamilton died of the overdose while sleeping.

Harvey's criminal record includes a conviction in New York for first-degree sexual abuse and a North Carolina conviction for failing to register as a sex offender.


Court rejects appeal in death of counselor

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal from an accomplice in the 2009 killing of Renee C. Greco, a counselor in a Lockport group home for teenage delinquents.

Robert J. Thousand, 20, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

In a one-paragraph opinion, the appeals court brushed off Thousand's claim that his plea and his waiver of his right to appeal were invalid. In late 2010, Thousand sought to withdraw his plea before sentencing, and Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas refused.

Anthony J. Allen, 21, of Rochester, who was convicted of second-degree murder for attacking Greco with a wooden table leg with protruding screws, is serving 25 years to life. Police said Thousand threw a blanket over Greco's head before Allen bludgeoned her.


Man, 50, charged in stabbing at rail station

A 50-year-old Buffalo man has been identified as the person who stabbed a young woman and man from California on Thursday afternoon at the Erie Canal Harbor Metro Rail station near Scott Street, authorities said.

Grill Williams is charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

Lema Lynch, 18, was listed in fair condition Friday at Erie County Medical Center. Rex Sandoval, 22, was released from the medical center after treatment.

Grill attacked them at about 3:30 p.m., according to police.

Grill fled on foot after the incident and was arrested in the Washington-Seneca street area by Central District officers after a description of the attacker was broadcast over police radios.

Lynch was stabbed in the stomach, and Sandoval in the arm, a witness said, adding that the attacker also had tried to bite him.


11 people left homeless in early morning blaze

A West Ferry house fire early Friday left 11 people homeless, fire officials said.

The blaze started on the first floor of 453 W. Ferry at about 1 a.m. and quickly spread to the second floor and attic, according to a fire official who said the cause of the $17,000 fire remains under investigation.

The Red Cross was called to assist six children and five adults.


Woman gets probation for selling cocaine

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda woman was placed on three years' probation for a drug misdemeanor Friday, a sentence to run concurrently with an existing five-year probation term for a drug felony.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed the sentence on Amanda L. Fero, 22, of Tremont Street. She pleaded guilty March 26 to seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for selling $80 worth of cocaine to a police informant Sept. 6 in North Tonawanda.

Fero's first probation term began Jan. 6 as a penalty for selling oxymorphone to a police informant in North Tonawanda on Sept. 21, 2010.


Buffalo man held on reckless endangerment

A 20-year-old Buffalo man is being held on first-degree reckless endangerment and other charges for allegedly threatening the lives of Buffalo police officers who chased him along the Metro Rail tracks and then forcefully subdued him Thursday morning in the 600 block of Main Street.

Juan A. Pena, no address listed, was arrested after a brief chase after Officer David Krzemien and other officers saw him climbing the archway over the Metro Rail tracks at about 10:45 a.m.

Pena was allegedly carrying an electronic ignitor used to ignite fires. He also is charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and criminal tampering and obstructing governmental administration.