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ARREST MADE IN CITY'S FIRST HOMICIDE OF '05

City police have arrested a man sought in the city's first homicide this year.

Detectives charged Chester W. Bradley, 21, of Ashland Avenue with second-degree murder in the March 18 shooting death of Lester Miller on Fourth Street.

Bradley pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon in City Court and was being held without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Police found Miller, 51, lying on the floor in a second floor bathroom on Fourth Street. He had been shot in the abdomen and leg. He was pronounced dead a short time later in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Captain Ernest C. Palmer, chief of detectives, said police believed the shooting stemmed from a marijuana deal.

Palmer credited the department's patrol division with helping to resolve the case.

"Officers John Petrishin, Jay Fisher and James VanEgmond took action and provided information critical to this investigation," Palmer said.

Detectives had been seeking to question Bradley since the shooting.

Palmer described Miller as "a familiar face." "Everybody knew him downtown," Palmer said. "He was never in any serious trouble."

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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