• Published

LOCKPORT – A North Tonawanda man avoided prison time Friday for his role in two beatings of the same victim.

Joseph T. Fago, 19, of Sisson Drive, had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree burglary in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendant, Walter M. Edwards, 29, of Oliver Street. A jury convicted Edwards Oct. 25 of first-degree burglary, second-degree witness intimidation and two counts of third-degree assault.

Fago and Edwards were charged with entering the home of Daniel Benchik of North Tonawanda Nov. 21, 2012, and breaking his jaw. They returned Dec. 10 and refractured the jaw in response to Benchik’s calling the police about the first attack.

“Mr. Fago was very cooperative with us,” said Assistant District Attorney Theresa L. Prezioso, adding that she agreed with the Probation Department’s recommended sentence of five years’ probation. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed it, adding 20 days in the county work program, to be completed by next Dec. 1.

“Substance abuse was a big part of it,” Fago said in explaining his actions. He said he accompanied Edwards as “a loyal friend.”

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