LOCKPORT – A man who assaulted and tried to rob a Channel 4 news crew in Niagara Falls, leaving the cameraman with impaired vision, accepted a plea offer Thursday in Niagara County Court.
Evan Stafford, 26, of Donna Drive, Town of Niagara, admitted to attempted second-degree robbery and is scheduled for sentencing June 12.
Stafford accosted WIVB-TV reporter Nick Quattrini and cameraman Melvin Barinas about 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in an alley between the 400 block of Third Street and Ferry Avenue. They were reporting on Art Alley, a show of murals painted on walls. Stafford demanded money and the TV camera.
"Pretty bold there, Mr. Stafford," Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said to Stafford.
Stafford said he was drunk at the time of the attack.
What happened? the judge asked.
"I was impaired, so I'm not quite sure," Stafford responded.
Barinas suffered a concussion, a fractured orbital bone, a bloody nose and a cut inside his mouth that required 15 stitches to close, Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said. Barinas still suffers from impaired vision.
Quattrini suffered a scrape on his chin, the reporter wrote on his Facebook page.
The judge could send Stafford to prison for as long as seven years.
Stafford was a crime victim a few months later. He was stabbed several times in the torso about 3 a.m. Feb. 20 in a driveway on Indian Hill Road in Lewiston. Raymond M. Printup, 27, was charged with assault, and the case remains unresolved.