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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Theft of tool box sends man to jail for a year

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Street man was sentenced Tuesday to a year in Niagara County Jail for stealing a tool box from the porch of a home on Saxton Street.

Alfredo A. Torres, 51, had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree burglary. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza imposed the sentence for the Oct. 18 theft.

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>DNA taken to test link to Rickerson killing

LOCKPORT -- A DNA sample was taken from the inside of murder suspect Richard W. Matt's mouth Tuesday to see if it ties him to evidence gathered more than nine years ago in the beating death and dismemberment of a North Tonawanda businessman.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza gave the go-ahead for the test after defense attorney A. Joseph Catalano said he had no objection to the prosecution request, lodged Friday.
Because of a scheduling conflict on Sperrazza's calendar, Matt's trial in connection with the December 1997 death of William Rickerson, 76, was postponed from May 29 to July 30. Pretrial appearances were scheduled for May 25 and July 13.

Rickerson was allegedly beaten to death after a robbery and his body was cut into pieces, some of which were found a few months later in the Niagara River. Matt, 40, formerly of the City of Tonawanda, was returned here in January after serving a sentence in a Mexican prison for a 1998 killing in Matamoros.

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>Car-theft suspect, 39, indicted on 4 counts

LOCKPORT -- A Lancaster man arrested Nov. 1 in North Tonawanda at the wheel of an allegedly stolen car was arraigned on a four-count indictment Tuesday in Niagara County Court.
William A. Martin II, 39, of Stoney Road, pleaded not guilty to third- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.
Martin was stopped on Witmer Road, driving a Toyota Corolla reported stolen from Budget Rent-a-Car on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga, Assistant District Attorney Charles F. Pitarresi said. The car allegedly carried two stolen license plates.

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>Drug dealer who ran 'chop shop' gets 2-4 years

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls drug dealer who also was part of an auto-stripping operation was sentenced to two to four years in prison Tuesday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.
Tremell R. Jordan Jr., 23, of Spruce Avenue, had pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He was arrested April 27, when Niagara Falls police said he had about an ounce of cocaine and $6,758 in cash in his possession. The money was forfeited to police.
Jordan also operated what his attorney, James J. Faso, called a mechanic's shop.

"It sounds like a chop house to me," Sperrazza said.

Parts from a stolen car were taken to Jordan's home between June 30 and July 12; he was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution, $500 to the owner for his insurance deductible and the remainder to Erie Insurance Co.

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>Trial in man's slaying rescheduled to Aug. 6

ALBION -- A murder trial for a Somerset man accused of killing a young man helping police investigate fur thefts in 1986 is scheduled to get under way Aug. 6.

Paul Rutherford Sr., 54, was charged with murder last July after a three-year investigation linked him to the slaying of Randy Neal, 19, on June 2, 1986. His trial was to begin this month but was delayed by defense motions. An Orleans County judge ordered the new trial date Monday.

Neal, whose throat was cut as he slept at his home on Murdock Road in Ridgeway, also suffered multiple knife wounds to his arms, face and neck. Authorities said Rutherford was an accomplice of Harry Ayrhart Jr., 44, who was convicted of Neal's murder in 1987 and is still serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

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>Man pleads not guilty to molesting girl, 6

LOCKPORT -- A Buffalo man pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Niagara County Court to charges that he molested a 6-year-old girl in Lockport and Wheatfield in the summer of 2004.
Timothy M. Gilpatrick Jr., 26, of Boyd Street, denied two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Gilpatrick was arrested Jan. 26.

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