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Probation officer pleads not guilty to stealing painkillers

Leaning on a cane, a Niagara County probation officer, charged with stealing painkillers from four criminals he was supervising, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Matthew V. Fender. (Photo courtesy of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office)

Matthew V. Fender, 43, of Lockport, seemed to be in pain and had difficulty standing when instructed to do so.

He had faced 18 counts, including one felony. First Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma moved to dismiss two counts on a technicality, but she said she expects those counts to be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Buffalo City Court Judge James A. W. McLeod presided at the arraignment in Niagara Falls, because three Niagara County judges recused themselves. McLeod adjourned the case until March 23.

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