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PRINCIPAL OF GRADE SCHOOL CONVICTED IN DRUG CASE

An elementary school principal was convicted Friday in his third trial on misdemeanor charges of possessing crack cocaine.

"This was a sad duty," said Hope Hagler, 43, an attorney and teacher on the Manhattan Criminal Court jury that convicted Matthew Barnwell. "We were all upset. He was a fine gentleman who gave in to a weakness."

"It was not unexpected," Barnwell said as he left court. He faces a year in jail and a $1,000 fine when Judge William Leibovitz sentences him March 9.

Barnwell, 56, was arrested Nov. 11, 1988, minutes after he had bought two $2 vials of crack from a New York street dealer.

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