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Suspect in threat rejects plea deal

A Geary Street man who allegedly violated a court order by threatening a female member of a block club that complained about his street meetings with suspicious characters rejected a plea deal Tuesday and demanded a trial.

Karl Johnson, 51, was ordered by City Judge Craig D. Hannah to remain jailed in lieu of $1,500 bail after he refused to accept a prosecution plea offer on the criminal contempt charge that led to his Feb. 12 jailing.

After the judge and prosecutor Stephen J. DiLorenzo told Johnson he could plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge and be referred to the City Court's Drug Court, he told them he had "no choice" but to go to trial.

After the court session, DiLorenzo said Johnson was arrested on a criminal contempt charge for violating the order of protection granted to one of the South Buffalo block club mothers who have been complaining about Johnson's street behavior.

Court officials said that since Johnson's jailing in mid-February, mothers of young children in the Geary Street area have been allowing their children to play outside for the first time in months.

Court officials confirmed that Geary Street residents fear Johnson has been dealing illicit drugs in their neighborhood for years. But they also stressed that Johnson, who has been stabbed twice in the past decade by individuals who were not prosecuted, has never been charged with such illegal activity.

e-mail: rwatson@buffnews.com

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