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Anger over dirty diaper ends with assault plea

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man who Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said attacked a 3-year-old boy for messing his diaper while being washed pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted second-degree assault.

Rodney E. Baumgard Jr., 21, of Lincoln Avenue is to be sentenced Feb. 26 by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza. He was baby-sitting July 25 in a home on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.


Man admits to DWI, 2 deny similar charges

LOCKPORT -- One man pleaded guilty to a felony count of driving while intoxicated Wednesday before Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr., while two others denied that charge at their arraignments.

Adam E. Lemay, 25, of Vine Street, Lockport, admitted to felony DWI and was scheduled for sentencing Feb. 20. He was arrested Aug. 26 in the City of Lockport.

Pleading not guilty were Wayne B. Socie Jr., 42, of Weston Avenue, Niagara Falls, and Loran D. Smyth Jr., 49, of Sabre Park, Town of Niagara. Socie was arrested Aug. 8 after his vehicle rear-ended another on Hyde Park Boulevard in Lewiston, causing a three-car chain-reaction crash in which two people suffered minor injuries. His indictment includes two counts of leaving the scene.

Smyth was arrested June 5 after his vehicle ran into a ditch on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield.


Fake lineman admits copper, vehicle thefts

LOCKPORT -- A Porter man who stole cars and sold them to a salvage yard, and who posed as an electric company lineman to steal copper wire from a Lockport business, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Niagara County Court.

Glenn L. Fariss, 42, of Lake Road admitted to two counts of attempted third-degree grand larceny and was scheduled for sentencing Feb. 22 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Assistant District Attorney Charles F. Pitarresi said Fariss took four or five vehicles from a storage building on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield, where they were being restored, and sold them for $500 or less each. The most recent theft occurred Aug. 10. On June 13, Fariss donned a hard hat and posed as a lineman to tear out $4,500 worth of copper wire from Wide Range Enterprises on Mill Street in Lockport, Pitarresi said.


2 more jail informants surface in murder trial

LOCKPORT -- The murder trial of Ray T. Townsend of Lockport was postponed for two months Wednesday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, as two more jailhouse informants surfaced against Townsend.

The trial was to have started Jan. 2, but Sperrazza instead scheduled a hearing that day on whether the testimony of the two new informants is to be allowed at the trial, now set for March 5.

Sperrazza has already ruled that the reports of two other fellow inmates will be admissible at the trial. They testified at a Nov. 9 hearing that Townsend, 39, of Lockport, admitted to them that he killed Robert J. Camarra, 54, of Lockport with a baseball bat in the victim's West Avenue home March 19.


Not guilty plea entered in painkiller possession

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man, who allegedly was found to have more than 100 painkiller pills in his pockets when he was arrested on a shoplifting charge, pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court on Wednesday.

Michael J. Paonessa, 46, of John Avenue is charged with third-, fourth-, fifth- and seventh-degree possession of controlled substances, as well as petit larceny. He was arrested June 17 at the Target store on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls, having allegedly stolen a hat and a can of pop. However, police found the pills and $4,540 in cash in his pockets, Assistant District Attorney Susan B. Bjornholm said. The third-degree possession count accuses him of intending to sell the pills.

In another drug case Wednesday, Timothy D. Kureczka, 58, of East Avenue, Gasport, admitted to fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza. County Drug Task Force agents confiscated 1.83 pounds of marijuana and just over a half-ounce of cocaine when they raided Kureczka's home April 21.


Ex-fire chief sentenced in harassment case

LOCKPORT -- Former Assistant Fire Chief Mark S. Devine was ordered Wednesday to pay fines and perform 250 hours of community service for run-ins with his estranged girlfriend.

City Judge William J. Watson gave Devine a conditional discharge on his guilty plea to two violation-level counts of harassment, but the conditions included the community service and payment of fines and surcharges totaling $690.
Devine, 52, of Corinthia Street, was arrested three times this year, once for a fracas with the woman and twice on charges of violating her order of protection. He agreed to resign from the Fire Department, where he worked for 28 years, to settle internal disciplinary charges stemming from the arrests.

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