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APPELLATE COURT UPHOLDS GUILTY PLEA TO MANSLAUGHTER

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has denied Joseph C. Dengel's appeal of his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter.

Dengel, 38, of West Henrietta, pleaded guilty last year to the June 24, 2000, shooting death of John R. Gniewkowski in the Town of Birdsall.

Allegany County Judge James E. Euken sentenced Dengel to five years in state prison and 2 1/2 years of supervision after his release.

Dengel, through his appeals lawyer, Bonnie Burgio of Watertown, claimed a statement he made to state troopers was admitted into evidence improperly and would have been used against him in a trial. He also claimed Euken erred in refusing to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea without a hearing.

The Appellate Division Fourth Department in Rochester denied both contentions and affirmed his conviction and sentence.

Dengel was convicted of fatally shooting Gniewkowski, 39, of the Town of Ontario, when Gniewkowski inadvertently drove between feuding factions along Sullivan Road in Birdsall.

Dengel's female companion, Agnes Burk of West Henrietta, originally was charged, but the case against her was dismissed when Dengel pleaded guilty.

Andrew Ford, 34, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to one to three years in prison.

Troopers said Ford was on one side of the road, Dengel and Burk on the other, when the shooting broke out.

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