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Would-be burglar gets 20 years for fatal assault

A Bailey Avenue man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing a Cheektowaga shopkeeper during a burglary at the victim’s home and business last summer.

Kevin Schwartz, 46, pleaded guilty in Erie County Court in August to manslaughter in the death of Lawrence Cassata on July 6, 2015. Schwartz reportedly broke into Cassata’s shop, Collectors Emporium, 1082 Walden Ave., with the intention of burglarizing it when he was confronted by Cassata. The two men fought and authorities said Cassata, 67, sustained a blunt force trauma injury and also may have suffered a heart attack during the scuffle. Cheektowaga Police were called in by a report of a disturbance, found Cassata inside on the floor and spotted a person bolting out a side door. Schwartz was captured after a chase.

Judge Thomas P. Franczyk ordered five years post release supervision in addition to the 20-year term. Schwartz was on parole for another crime at the time of the homicide.

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