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SHOOTING SPREE NETS FALLS MAN LONG TERM

Lavon T. Cox, 20, of Niagara Falls, arrested seven times since 1995, was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 92 years in prison on charges stemming from a shooting spree that wounded six persons in a tavern crowded with New Year's Eve revelers early last Jan. 1.

Niagara County Judge Charles J. Hannigan ordered Cox to serve consecutive sentences of 17 1/2 to 25 years for each of three counts of first-degree assault; 12 1/2 to 25 years for each of two charges of first-degree criminal use of a firearm; 3 1/2 to seven years for each of the two convictions for second-degree assault, and 7 1/2 to 15 years for second-degree criminal weapon possession.

"We requested consecutive sentencing," said prosecuting attorney Ronald Winter, "and the judge did what he thought was appropriate. Of the eight charges, five of them were B felonies. For the first-degree assault charges, we had to establish that people suffered serious and protracted physical injuries."

A jury found Cox guilty June 20 after hearing three days of testimony. An appeal is expected.

Cox, who lived at 3208 Highland Ave. in Jordan Gardens, shot five women and one man in their legs, thighs or hips in 3Ms Bar, 3716 Highland Ave. About 300 persons were in the tavern.

Cox had been thrown out of the tavern earlier for fighting, then returned with a 9mm handgun and opened fire.

Before he fled through a back door, he also fired two shots over the heads of police officers after they arrived the scene. He turned himself in to police five days later.

Cox and his uncle, Michael, had been involved in a fight in which the uncle was hit on the head with a beer bottle and had to be taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for treatment.

Cox had been arrested six times in the previous two years. Last Nov. 2 he and two of his uncles were charged with weapon possession after shots were fired from a car.

His other arrests included charges of rape and endangering the welfare of a child, menacing and weapon possession, two other incidents of menacing and one charge of disorderly conduct.

News Niagara Correspondent Anne Sherwood contributed to this report.

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