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Man accused in barber killing pleads to lesser weapons charge

A man originally charged with murder in the shooting death of a Niagara Street barber in September pleaded guilty Thursday morning to a lesser weapons charge in State Supreme Court.

Prosecutors said evidence showed that Victor Martinez, 29, of Busti Avenue did not cause any physical harm to Juan Ortiz Santiago when he accompanied Luis “Chino” Oliveras Arvelo, 25, into Ortiz Santiago’s shop on Sept. 1. Martinez was carrying a gun, but he reportedly only fired it into the ceiling. He pleaded guilty to one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Oliveras Arvelo pleaded guilty April 6 to first degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Ortiz Santiago.

Prosecutors say the attack grew out of an earlier confrontation between the victim and the shooter. About 10 minutes before he was killed, Ortiz Santiago reportedly threatened Oliveras Arvelo with a machete because of a dispute involving the victim’s brother and a woman.

Justice Christopher J. Burns scheduled sentencing for Martinez for May 12. Oliveras Arvelo is to be sentenced May 2.