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PLEA DEAL PROPOSED IN BOY'S MURDER CASE

Demetrius T. Nix's family is considering whether he should accept a plea bargain in the killing of Douglas L. Scott, and Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. is considering whether to let him.

Nix, 15, of Niagara Falls, has been charged as an adult with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the June 20 shooting of Scott, 20, of 13th Street, Niagara Falls.

Nix, a Welch Avenue resident who was 14 at the time of the killing, has been offered a chance to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and be classified as a juvenile offender.

Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma disclosed the plea offer at a hearing before Broderick on Thursday. She said Nix is due to appear in court again Nov. 28.

According to state sentencing guidelines, a juvenile offender -- one who is to be tried as an adult for a felony committed at age 14 or 15 -- would receive a minimum of one to three years and a maximum of three to 10 years in custody for a manslaughter charge.

If Nix were convicted of murder, his sentence would range from five years to life to nine years to life.

Nix, who is being held in a secure juvenile facility in Rochester, would begin his sentence in a similar setting.

An adult would face up to 25 years for first-degree manslaughter and 25 years to life for murder.

Asked Friday if Nix will take the plea, defense attorney Andrew A. Ligammari said: "It's going to in large part depend on the judge. As of (Thursday) he wasn't committed to what was offered, so it's a little premature to say one way or the other. The judge has veto power over it."

Ligammari added that Nix's family isn't entirely sold on the plea deal, either. "The parents will have a lot to say about it," he said.

Ligammari said the plea offer from the district attorney's office was conditional on prosecutors' not having to respond to a motion Ligammari filed Sept. 30, seeking dismissal of the charges.

Scott was killed by a single shot to the chest about 12:30 p.m. June 20 on the sidewalk in front of his father's house in the 400 block of 10th Street, Niagara Falls. Police said they had witnesses who identified Nix as the shooter, but Nix ran from the scene and was not arrested until nine days later.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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