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MAN NOT INDICTED IN DEATH OF SON, BUT STILL IS A SUSPECT

LOCKPORT -- Michael Haffizulla was not charged with any homicide-related counts in an indictment unsealed Tuesday in County Court.

However, Haffizulla remains a suspect in the July 18 death of his 7-week-old son, Mickla, District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III said.

"There's still some investigating we need to do," said Murphy when asked why Haffizulla hasn't been charged with the boy's death. "We're working closely with the Niagara Falls Police Department."

Haffizulla, 32, of LaSalle Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence.

The latter charge pertains to the man's alleged burial of his son in a shallow grave on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, following a death that autopsy reports blamed on multiple blunt-force trauma to the head.

Haffizulla led investigators to the gravesite July 22 after the baby's grandfather tipped police off to the death of the boy.

A search of Haffizulla's home uncovered 10.93 pounds of alleged marijuana.

The boy's mother, Kasea Brown, Haffizulla's longtime girlfriend, fled to her native Jamaica with the couple's 2-year-old daughter after their son died.

She has since returned to Western New York and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to Murphy. The woman has not been charged.

Toronto man flees as jury
weighs his fate in drug case

LOCKPORT -- A County Court jury convicted a Toronto man Tuesday of marijuana possession after a seven-day trial, but he didn't stick around to hear the verdict.

Paul D. Wilson, 41, fled to Canada during the 90-minute jury deliberations that began at 11 a.m. He turned in his border pass at Canada Customs at one of the local international bridges about noon, Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said.

Sloma and defense attorney Angelo Musitano were involved in a hearing in another courtroom while the jury was out, so neither was aware that Wilson had left the building.

Wilson, who faces up to seven years in prison for second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, was scheduled for sentencing Dec. 11 by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza. She ordered Wilson's $5,000 bail forfeited.

"We have to extradite," Sloma said. District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III said the federal government will have to handle that matter with Canadian authorities.

Wilson was arrested Sept. 8, 2000, on Lake Ontario off Wilson Harbor after the U.S. Coast Guard reported seeing him throw five plastic bags overboard. The bags, which floated, contained marijuana, the officers said.

Other marijuana was found aboard Wilson's 30-foot boat, the Sasparilla. He was indicted for having 26 ounces of the drug.

2 charged with videotaping
sex acts with adolescent girl

LOCKPORT -- Two Niagara Falls men were indicted by a county grand jury Tuesday for allegedly having sex on camera with an adolescent girl in April.

Robbie Johnson, 25, of Seventh Street, and Archie Nelson, 23, of 15th Street, are charged with two counts each of second-degree rape and single counts of the use of a child in a sexual performance.

Nelson was also charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child for having the girl, who was under age 15, drink alcohol before Johnson arrived.

Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said the men allegedly made a videotape of themselves having sex with the girl. It was meant for private use, not commercial distribution, he said.

Suspects plead not guilty
in cases of burglary, DWI

LOCKPORT -- Two men pleaded not guilty in separate County Court arraignments Tuesday.

Harry C. Erickson III, 23, of Caledonia Street, denied charges of third-degree burglary and petit larceny.

He is accused of entering Mrs. Q's Restaurant, 621 West Ave., on July 25 and stealing a cash box containing $500 to $600. He allegedly used a key given to him by a female employee, Debra Prentice.

In the other case, John J. Holup Jr., 41, of Young Street, Wilson, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of driving while intoxicated, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and a lane violation. He was arrested in Wilson on Aug. 19.

Man, 37, accused of beating
woman into unconsciousness

LOCKPORT -- A Chapel Street man was arrested late Monday night after he was accused of beating a Garden Street woman into unconsciousness Oct. 21, Police Lt. Michael Niethe said.

Gary L. Bennett Jr., 37, was charged with felony assault, second-degree attempted robbery and criminal mischief at 10:20. p.m when he was found at Genesee and Locust streets by Officers Rodney J. Peters and Michael P. Barlass, Niethe said.

Bennett is accused attacking the woman on Olcott Street after telling her that she and her husband owed him money and demanded that she pay him back immediately. When the woman said she had no money, Bennett allegedly tried to search her pockets and shoved her to the ground.

He allegedly choked her with one hand while punching her repeatedly with the other in the head and face until she was knocked unconscious.

The woman was treated in Lockport Memorial Hospital, Niethe said.

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