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A Northumberland Avenue man pleaded guilty today to a reduced manslaughter charge in the death of a man killed Aug. 3 in a drug shooting gallery.

Eddie G. Howard, 42, of 679 Northumberland told State Supreme Court Justice Julian F. Kubiniec he killed Louis Talley with Talley's sawed-off shotgun Aug. 3. during a fight at 121 West Ave.

Howard, told the judge he and Talley had argued earlier in the day.

They argued again later that night, and Howard said he shot Talley because he thought Talley still was armed.

After his arrest, Howard told police the shotgun had discharged accidentally, hitting Talley, 29, of 129 West Ave., court officials said.

The plea agreement was reached with the district attorney's office, and prosecutors were willing to drop second-degree murder, robbery, assault and weapons counts in the case because of Howard's willingness to admit he deliberately shot Talley, prosecutor John C. Luzier told the judge.

Howard also had been charged with hitting Gregory Colman, 55, of 121 West Ave., on the head with the butt of the shotgun, court officials said.

Prosecutors also agreed to the first-degree manslaughter plea because the judge refused to give Howard a commitment on his impending prison term, Luzier said. Howard faces a maximum 25 years in prison and a minimum term ranging from one to 12 1/2 years.

Prosecutors will check on Howard's criminal record in the Chicago area and will press for his sentencing as a second-time offender, Luzier said.

At the request of prosecutors, Kubiniec allowed Howard to remain free on $25,000 bail pending his sentencing July 1.

Buffalo police said West Avenue neighbors frequently have complained that the building where the shooting occurred is a drug "shooting gallery," the scene of frequent drug deals and prostitution.

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