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Falls man admits to murder in barroom shooting

LOCKPORT – There was no more time for Algernon Dix to stall the inevitable and on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, admitting his role in a shooting in a Niagara Falls bar that killed Franchot Wallace six months ago.

Dix, 35, of 16th Street, opened fire at 2:30 a.m. March 7 in the 3M Club on Highland Avenue; a bar crowded with people during a party. Wallace, 29, of Whitney Avenue was shot twice in the back and died a short time later in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Dix had been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, but with defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman, he agreed to a plea deal of first-degree manslaughter when he appeared before County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III on Tuesday.

Dix asked the judge for just one more week before he agreed to the plea, but Murphy said he was out of time and faced a trial next week.

Seven members of Dix’s family were in the courtroom, many in tears. Wallace’s family does not live in Western New York, but members are expected to be in court when Dix returns for sentencing on Nov. 10.

Dix has a prior non-violent felony drug charges in Pennsylvania and could have faced up to 25 years in state prison if he were convicted on the manslaughter charge, but Murphy said as part of the plea he has agreed to a 15 to 20-year prison term, with five years post-release supervision.

Dix was arrested at his home two days after the March shooting after Niagara Falls police put out a call to the public for help on the case.

The 3M Club, 2716 Highland Avenue, has been the site of at least three homicides since 1989. The club’s liquor license was canceled by the State Liquor Authority in 2009 and now it is used only for private functions, such as the one where Wallace was killed.