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Hate crime charges against Wilson man dismissed

Hate crime accusations against a Wilson man were dismissed Monday, and he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in an incident the judge blamed on "consuming copious amounts of malt beverages."

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. granted a one-year conditional discharge to Gary R. Bell II, 32, of Hamilton Avenue, who was indicted on hate crime felonies in connection with a June 23 attack on a black friend, Cornell Ford, 39, of Niagara Falls.

Kloch noted that the two men had spent the previous day riding all-terrain vehicles and drinking before the assault occurred in Bell's home about 2:30 a.m.

"I don't think people inclined to hate someone on the basis of color would entrust them to an ATV and alcoholic beverages," Kloch said.

"You've got to put some control on the alcohol," the judge told Bell.

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