Maki Becker - The Buffalo News

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Maki Becker

Maki Becker is the breaking news and criminal justice editor at The Buffalo News.


No bullet, suicide bomber or IED could stop these Marines.They were wounded, yes.But 14 men from the Buffalo-based India Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment have lived to tell the tales of their brushes with danger in Iraq.And today, the Marines, who have been home since October, will be awarded Purple Hearts, in the drill room of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve …

A teenager approached a Buffalo woman coming out of a Bailey Avenue deli Monday evening, offering to sell her some jewelry.She looked at the baubles and quickly realized something was up.There, among the loot, was her mother's bracelet.It was the lucky break Northeast District police had been waiting for.For the past six weeks, police had been on the hunt for a gang of tee…

A survey by Daemen College nursing students about date-rape drugs discovered that while many young people in Erie County were aware of the phenomenon, few took precautions to prevent someone from slipping them a drug in their drink at a bar.While the study was an informal one, with a sampling of just 100 young men and women in Erie County, the students found that two-third…

Six thousand miles from Iraq, Kathleen Kern has been lighting candles and offering countless prayers for the safe return of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams held by a group calling itself Swords of Righteousness Brigade.As a full-time staff member of the Chicago and Toronto-based Christian peace group, Kern is hoping that her colleagues' captors will release …

He could have gone to Disneyland or met his favorite sports hero.Instead, Michael Friedman, 16, who is battling a rare and aggressive cancer, made a wish to give a LeapPad laptop toy for toddlers to 23-month-old Alexis Latimore of North Tonawanda, who has a tumor in her eye.And a digital camera to Lacora Wilson, 19, of Buffalo, who has kidney failure.And a portable DVD pla…

Authorities have released a sketch of a suspect in four purse-snatchings outside suburban Tops supermarkets this week.The suspect is described as a 5-foot-10 male with blond hair and glasses who is in his 20s. He is believed to be driving a green or turquoise older-model SUV.Authorities said he is believed to have most recently robbed a woman near the entrance of the Tops …

Therese Smith says she always will be grateful to her 20-year-old grandson for saving her life when she choked on her morning pills.But the 81-year-old Town of Tonawanda woman also marvels at how the young man, who was born with Down syndrome, knew how to administer the Heimlich maneuver."I was choking," she recalled of the harrowing incident, which occurred three weeks ag…

Katie L. Magle had made her mother promise that if anything should happen to her, that she wanted her organs to be donated."Don't talk like that," Diane L. Magle remembered saying to her 17-year-old daughter that day a few months ago when she'd come home inspired by an assembly on organ donation at Mount Mercy Academy, where she was a senior."Promise me," Katie insisted.Th…

Police in the Southtowns were on the lookout for a violent purse-snatcher believed to have targeted female shoppers in the parking lots of Tops supermarkets in West Seneca and the Town of Hamburg in back-to-back incidents Thursday evening.In the first incident, a woman reported that about 6:08 p.m., a man approached her in the parking lot at the Tops on Orchard Park Road i…

Mary Bulas has a special message for State Trooper Randall A. Shenefiel.The trooper, assigned to patrol the lower section of the Niagara Thruway in Buffalo, carried Bulas, 77, and her dog to safety Tuesday when a fire engulfed the vacant house next door to hers on Perry Street."I didn't get a chance to thank him," Bulas said Wednesday evening, still shaken by her close cal…

For the Rev. Darius Pridgen, it was the last straw.The pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, at 907 E. Ferry St., was outraged when he learned that the two men who robbed the Subway outlet on the church's campus Monday night fired a handgun at the employees.The gun appeared to have misfired. Police believe it may have jammed.Earlier this month, an employee was mugged at gu…

Two children -- a 4-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister -- were injured in a snowmobiling accident in Warsaw over the weekend when the little boy pressed down on the accelerator and sent the vehicle crashing into trees, according to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Department.The accident took place Saturday afternoon, just hours after an 8-year-old Holland boy was killed …

Friday's snow wreaked havoc on the roads of Western New York, with several accidents, dozens of fender-benders and countless cars swerving off the roads, keeping police and other rescuers busy in late afternoon and evening.The heavy snow began falling in the Buffalo area shortly after 4 p.m., and the entire region was under a lake effect snow warning until midnight, said N…

The bronze statue of a woman with her hands raised up to the sky was not just a pretty piece of art in the back yard of Kenneth and Marilyn Barker.It was a tribute to teenage daughter Dara, who died 13 years ago from leukemia.So it hit the Barkers hard when they noticed that the lovely statue that had graced their back yard on Woodward Avenue for six years now was missing.…

Waking up in the intensive care unit, Donald Lockwood's first thoughts after being nearly beaten to death while delivering a pizza were about his children."What am I going to do for my kids for Christmas?" he remembered thinking.Monday night, his worries were quelled -- and then some.Hundreds of people gathered at Casa di Pizza on Elmwood Avenue, one of the two pizzerias w…