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Prison term imposed in assault of 2

Henry Sparks, deemed a persistent felon, proclaimed his innocence Thursday as he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the assault and robbery at knifepoint of two Buffalo women last summer.

Jailed since his arrest in Jamestown last July 10, Sparks, 42, of Milburn Street, unsuccessfully demanded to withdraw his eve-of-trial guilty plea to first-degree robbery and felony assault. The charges resulted from a knife attack and car theft that began in an East Eagle Street woman's flat July 3.

Proclaiming that "I didn't rob no one!" Sparks -- whose criminal history dates from the early 1980s and includes prison terms for rape and robbery -- insisted he had been given poor advice by court-assigned attorneys.

Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico rejected his complaint and sentenced him as a persistent felony offender.

Prosecutor Michael L. McCabe said Sparks was arrested by Jamestown police on a warrant. He had driven there in the car he had stolen from one of his two Buffalo victims.

During the afternoon incident July 3 in the flat, Sparks began demanding money. When the woman and her friend refused to give him any, he got a knife, told them to "give it up," then stabbed one woman and knocked her to the floor, McCabe said.

The other woman intervened as Sparks was about to sodomize his bleeding victim. She ended up with a broken arm as the three of them fought before Sparks stole car keys and some money and fled, the prosecutor said.

Sparks pleaded guilty in January as jury selection was about to begin, McCabe said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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