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MAN PLEADS INNOCENT TO MURDER IN SHOOTING

The alleged killer of a Niagara Falls man was arraigned Friday before Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Rashawn L. Chapman, 18, of Ontario Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Chapman was indicted by a Niagara County grand jury Tuesday on charges of shooting James A. Balogh, 50, of Main Street, in the head in an apartment at 742 Eighth St. Balogh died Sept. 1 in Erie County Medical Center.

Chapman, who was arrested Sept. 12, is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash or $100,000 property bail.

First Assistant District Attorney Timothy R. Lundquist said the investigation of the killing is continuing. "We think we may have a reason why this occurred," Lundquist said, but he declined to say what that was.

Meanwhile, Lundquist was uncertain if two other men charged after an incident that led to a shooting death would face a grand jury.

Shannon J. Bomberry, 27, of Bellreng Drive, Town of Niagara, died Wednesday in Erie County Medical Center, almost five months after being shot three times in the chest, allegedly while breaking into a mobile home on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation on April 21.

Kenneth E. Sheehan, 24, of Packard Court, Niagara Falls, pulled the trigger, according to police reports at the time, after two masked men entered the home of James D. Muniz, 55, on Mount Hope Road.

However, Sheehan has been charged only with weapons and marijuana possession because the shooting was regarded as self-defense. "That's the scenario we're looking at," Lundquist said Friday.

Muniz was also charged with marijuana possession after the shooting. Deputies confiscated 15 pounds of the drug and 34 marijuana plants found growing in Muniz' bedroom.

The two men were due for an appearance in County Court Thursday, but the case was adjourned.

In other court action Friday:

Ronald A. Scarfone, 36, of North Seventh Street, was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted second-degree burglary and attempted second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Scarfone took plea bargains for a burglary at a Niagara Falls home and for trying to cash two forged checks worth a total of $155, taken from purses stolen June 11, 2000, at a church social in Niagara Falls.

Scarfone stole $15 in U.S. coins and an undetermined amount of foreign coins from the 15th Street home of Emilia Pontecorvo on Dec. 20. He and another man were arrested June 11 in the Town of Lockport, when goods from the stolen purses were found in their car.

Wilbert Henderson, 42, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, is awaiting sentencing on two counts of third-degree criminal possession of forged instruments.

Mark G. Granto, 33, of James Drive, Lewiston, pleaded guilty Friday to attempted third-degree burglary and attempted second-degree forgery. Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 9.

Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said Granto broke into the home of Donald A. Marinucci on James Drive June 29, stole a checkbook and tried to forge Marinucci's name on a check the next day.

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