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Niagara Falls man told to choose his prison sentence in wife-beating case

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man who pleaded guilty Oct. 8 to striking his estranged wife on the left side of the head, knowing she suffers from a potentially fatal aneurysm, was told Thursday he’s going to state prison, and he can in effect decide how long he serves.

Clifford B. Sebring, 49, of 22nd Street, will return to court Jan. 21 to either accept a sentence of 16 months to four years or withdraw his plea and stand trial on the original indictment, which carries a seven-year maximum.

“There’s no way I can possibly give probation. None,” State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said. “This is conduct beyond bizarre. It’s abusive.” He promised Sebring, who had been told when he pleaded guilty that he might receive probation, that if he goes to trial and is convicted, he will receive the maximum sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre there are felony charges pending against Sebring for other incidents with the woman, which would be dropped if he sticks with the plea bargain. They include first-degree criminal contempt, third-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree stalking. Kloch urged Baehre to submit those matters to a grand jury.