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EX-AREA MAN CONVICTED IN MACHETE ATTACK

Phong Le, a former Buffalo radiator worker, was convicted Thursday evening in a machete attack three years ago.

After about eight hours of deliberations in a four-day trial, the jury found Le, 28, guilty of attempted murder, first-degree assault and weapons charges in the Aug. 16, 1996 attack on Hung Nguyen.

Le, now a college student, was remanded to jail pending sentencing Nov. 19 by State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti.

He was extradited from the Oakland, Calif., area last May but had been free on $50,000 cash bail until Thursday.

Court officials said he faces a prison term of up to 25 years for the attack on Nguyen at his Poplar Street home.

On Tuesday, Nguyen, 29, told the jury Le slashed his left hand with a machete, nearly severing his left ring finger, and slashed him twice in the right arm as several men chased him until he managed to escape.

Le testified Wednesday that he doesn't know Nguyen and had nothing to do with the attack.

In his testimony, Nguyen, who never has been able to identify his other attackers, did not give a reason for the was attack. Rooth declined comment on prosecution theories about a motive.

In closing arguments, Philip M. Marshall, Le's attorney, noted prosecutors had failed to prove Le, who moved to California with his family more than a year ago, had any motive for taking part in an attack on Nguyen. Marshall contended his client was a victim of mistaken identification.

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