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POLICE & COURTS

>Falls man sentenced to jail in sex abuse case

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza on Friday sentenced a Niagara Falls man to five years in jail for the sexual abuse of two women.

John Phillips, 42, of Pierce Avenue pleaded guilty to felony first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching for cases involving two Niagara Falls women on Dec. 9, 2000, and April 22, 2005.

Phillips received a sentence of five years for the felony charge and one year in the forcible touching case, to be served concurrently. He also was sentenced to three years post release supervision.

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>Confession in fatal accident is ruled admissible

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Lockport motorist's confession to leaving the scene of a fatal accident last August was ruled admissible at his trial by Niagara County Court Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. on Friday.

Joseph A. Marrotta, 28, of Fairview Drive rejected a plea bargain in December, which offered him a chance to plead guilty to attempted leaving the scene of a fatal accident, which carried a maximum prison term of four years in prison.

He now faces trial on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, which could result in seven years in prison.

Niagara County Investigator Charles W. Baker said he followed proper procedures when Marrotta came to the Niagara County Sheriff's Department the morning after the Aug. 27 accident and confessed to leaving the scene of the accident, which killed Bonnie D. Waterfield, 43, of Hartland.

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>Smuggling charge hits fast border pass holder

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Niagara Falls man who had expedited clearance at area border crossings under the Free and Secure Trade Program was charged Thursday with attempting to smuggle nearly $45,000 out of the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service reported.

Gerald Biro, 26, told Canada Customs officers at the Rainbow Bridge that he was headed to a Niagara Falls, Ont., casino and said he had about $500 U.S. dollars on him.

Authorities said two bundles of currency were found hidden inside Biro's vehicle.

He was arrested on federal charges of bulk currency smuggling and failure to comply with currency reporting requirements.

Biro was turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and he was removed from the FAST border program.

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>Ankle monitor put on man who confessed to killing

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who confessed to killing a teenager in his home and dumping his body off a bridge into Cattaraugus Creek is wearing an electronic ankle monitor.

District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III said members of the Stop the Violence Coalition met with him on Feb. 28 asking that Christopher M. Faieta, who was freed on $20,000 bail after he confessed to killing 19-year-old Michael K. Banks Jr., be monitored.

The group has blasted Murphy for allowing a white defendant to be released on such a low bail for the Dec. 10 killing of a black teen, but Murphy has noted that the bail deal was made for Faieta after he led them to the body, a crucial part of the case. Divers found Banks' body on Feb. 14.

"We agreed that the request for an ankle monitor was not an unreasonable request and forwarded the request to the judge."

Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. agreed to the request, Murphy said.

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>Burglar gets prison term after violating probation

LOCKPORT -- A young man has been sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for an attempted burglary after violating probation.

Last year, Michael C. Dean, 20, of Ridge Road was sentenced to a year's probation and a chance to earn youthful offender status if he stayed out of trouble after he pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree burglary in the May 4, 2004, break-in of a home on Beebe Road, Wilson.

Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Antholzner said in Niagara County Court Thursday that Dean was arrested Dec. 5 in Erie County on charges of felony criminal mischief, grand larceny and petit larceny.

She said Dean also never reported to a work-release program and that he left town without permission, all probation violations.

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>Cabbie's nose broken when fare attacks him

A Buffalo man has been charged with attacking a cab driver after refusing to pay his fare early Friday, police said.

Gregory Williams, 21, of Latona Court was charged with assault and theft of services by Officer William Gambino. The taxi driver suffered a broken nose and planned to seek medical attention, police said.

The incident occurred at 12:20 a.m. at South Park and Reading avenues.

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