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POLICE & COURTS

Hartland burglar faces up to 15 years in prison

LOCKPORT -- Ronald C. Swann, 35, of Bishop Road, Hartland, faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court in connection with two home break-ins in Newfane.

Swann is to be sentenced for second-degree burglary May 10 by Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said Swann pleaded guilty specifically to a Dec. 8 burglary at a home on Transit Road, but the plea also covers a Jan. 8 invasion of a 76-year-old woman's mobile home on Dublin Road.

At the time, sheriff's investigators said Swann forced the woman to the floor and pointed a sawed-off shotgun at her before fleeing.

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Man dies after car driven by wife hits tree

An Orchard Park man died Thursday afternoon when a car driven by his wife hit a tree, Orchard Park police reported.

The accident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. on California Road, north of Ellis Road. Police said a car driven by Susan B. Keefer, 62, was heading south when it left the roadway and hit a tree.

Robert T. Keefer Jr., 61, who was a front seat passenger, suffered a severe head injury, police said. He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Mrs. Keefer also was taken to Mercy Hospital for treatment; her condition was not available.

Police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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Jamestown house fire kills occupant, dog

JAMESTOWN -- A man died Thursday morning in a blaze that gutted a two-story home on Hallock Street near Jones and Gifford Avenue.

Battalion Chief James Winchester said fire crews were called to 521 Hallock St. just before 4 a.m.

He said the body of the man was found just inside the front doorway. The name of the deceased was not being released pending notification of next of kin.

Jones and Gifford Avenue was closed for a while Thursday morning so water lines could be extended.

One of three dogs inside the home also died in the fire.

An off-duty shift of 12 firefighters and one shift commander was called in. The cause remains under investigation.

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Jail terms imposed for 2 among 4 in beating case

NIAGARA FALLS -- City Judge Angelo J. Morinello on Thursday imposed one-year jail terms on two defendants charged with a 2004 beating, and he placed a third defendant on three years' probation.

Drawing the jail time were Terrance A. Elder, 28, of 22nd Street, and Laneeka N. Elder, 26, of Lockport Street. Adrian B. Ralands, 33, of Niagara Falls, was placed on probation. A case is still pending against Tina M. Dolson, 33, of North Avenue.

The four were accused of assaulting a man Aug. 29, 2004. Elder is awaiting sentencing in Niagara County Court for his role in the Oct. 17 armed robbery of a Lockport drugstore.

In another sentencing by Morinello, Maurice Sanders, 28, of Cleveland Avenue, was sent to prison for 18 months for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. However, Sanders, who sold cocaine to an undercover police officer Jan. 8, 2004, was recommended for boot camp-style "shock incarceration," which could lead to parole in six months.

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Two drug defendants deny guilt in Niagara

LOCKPORT -- Two drug suspects were arraigned Thursday by Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Adrienne C. Smoke, 25, of Fort Erie, Ont., pleaded not guilty to second-degree criminal possession of marijuana. She was arrested Oct. 25 at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and accused of trying to smuggle almost a pound of marijuana into the United States in the trunk of her car.

Keith E. Blose, 21, of Ransomville Road, Ransomville, denied charges of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

He was arrested by state troopers Aug. 12 in the 400 block of Ferry Avenue in Niagara Falls and accused of having cocaine.

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North Tonawanda man denies five sex charges

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man pleaded not guilty to a five-count sex indictment Thursday in Niagara County Court.

Timothy G. White, 45, of Esther Street, denied first- and second-degree courses of sexual conduct against a child, third-degree menacing, second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. The sexual incidents with a girl younger than 13 allegedly occurred in North Tonawanda between Nov. 1, 2003, and Sept. 13, 2005.

In another case, Frederick W. Weir, 30, of Letchworth Street, Buffalo, admitted to a misdemeanor charge of sexual misconduct and was scheduled for sentencing May 2 by Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. Weir was charged with the statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl in Pendleton between October and December 2003.

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