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Falls man acquitted of assault charges

A Niagara County Court jury on Friday quickly acquitted a man of all 11 domestic violence charges lodged against him by his former girlfriend.

The jury took less than two hours to find Randy Coates Jr., 31, of Jordan Gardens, Niagara Falls, not guilty.

"I think there were two versions. Given the amount of time they were out, it was apparent which one they believed," defense attorney Robert Viola said.

Coates had been charged with slashing the woman's leg with an electric hair clipper May 2, 2006, in her home on Porter Road in the Town of Niagara.

He was also accused of several offenses in the ensuing week: phoning her repeatedly; entering her home, pushing her and spitting in her face; dragging her out of bed; and throwing her against a wall.

The woman testified that Coates assaulted her, but Coates took the stand and denied it. Viola said Coates had been shifting his attentions to a friend of the alleged victim shortly before the charges were filed.

"There's no question there were injuries she sustained," Viola said, but he argued Coates wasn't responsible for causing them.

Assistant District Attorneys Steven Foley and Lisa M. Baerhe were the prosecutors in the four-day trial before Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

In other court action Friday, two Niagara Falls drug dealers were sent to jail by Broderick, while a third pleaded guilty before Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Jason D. Covert, 33, of Zito Drive, a married father of six, will serve a year behind bars for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was selling cocaine out of a Niagara Falls motel room when he was arrested June 13, 2006.

Alton A. Purvis Jr., 28, of 20th Street will serve six months in jail to begin a five-year probation term for attempted third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Purvis sold cocaine to a police informant outside Fashion Outlets USA in the Town of Niagara Aug. 22.

Shayne D. Joseph, 47, of 24th Street admitted to fifth-degree drug possession and was scheduled for sentencing Aug. 3.

Joseph was arrested Sept. 25 when a parole officer visiting his home found 472 painkiller pills and $2,662 in cash, which he had to forfeit as part of the plea deal. The pills were found in the couch, in a cooler and on a side table, Assistant District Attorney Susan B. Bjornholm said.

Broderick imposed a three-year probation term on Frank S. Massaro, 38, of Walnut Avenue, Niagara Falls, who had pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by walking in on her while she was showering in January 2004.

Massaro originally was indicted on a felony count of sexually molesting the girl over a two-year period, but the prosecution backed off on those charges because of problems with the evidence, Broderick noted when the plea was entered in March.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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