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Lackawanna man’s lateness to court carries a penalty

When Jason G. Connolly showed up in court more than a half-hour late for his trial on a drug charge this week, the judge immediately ordered that his bail be revoked and he be taken into custody.

Although the 39-year-old Lackawanna man was charged with a relatively lesser offense for State Supreme Court – fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance – Justice Penny M. Wolfgang had had enough.

This was the same Jason Connolly who was charged in April with possession of marijuana by Lackawanna police, who smelled the smoke during a traffic stop. It is also the same man who tried to help a friend circumvent a court-ordered ignition interlock by changing cars with him, and who went to jail on burglary convictions when he was in his 20s. His prior violent felony convictions put him in a different category for the court, as did the four prior failures to appear mentioned by prosecutor Seth T. Molisani.

And this didn’t include the fatal crash for which Connolly was never charged when he struck Brian G. Martin, of East Aurora, on March 15, 2014. Martin was crossing South Park Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. that Saturday when he was hit by a car driven by Connolly. Martin died from his injuries four months later.

Police didn’t charge Connolly that night, but on June 20, 2015, he was involved in another crash in South Buffalo – hitting a parked car on Abbott Road before running away and tossing what turned out to be a package containing more than 200 codeine pills, two oxycodone pills and 10 Adderall pills into a backyard.

After he finally arrived in court Tuesday afternoon, Connolly decided to plead guilty rather than go to trial. Wolfgang committed to sentencing him to 3½ years in prison when he returns April 12. She refused his attorney’s request that he be freed again on bail.