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POLICE & COURTS

Phillips, in appeal, denies admitting intent to kill

ROCHESTER -- Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, the former fugitive convicted of killing a state trooper and wounding two others in 2006, argued in an appeal Monday that he never admitted in his plea his intention to kill anyone.

Phillips, 46, is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole after telling a judge in November 2006 that he was "guilty as hell" of a litany of charges. He maintains that he entered the pleas because he got bad advice from a court-appointed lawyer.

At a hearing before the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, his attorney maintained that Phillips never admitted "he intended to kill anyone" nor "knew or reasonably should have known" the two men he shot as they staked out his former girlfriend's home in rural Chautauqua County were police officers.

Prosecutors countered that Phillips' guilty plea was legally sufficient.

"He's saying he was never asked that question . . . 'Did you intend to kill?' " Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley said. "My argument is . . . if you aim a gun at a human being . . . that you know can kill someone."

The appeals court is likely to decide in about a month whether to overturn Phillips' convictions.

A career criminal, Phillips escaped from a jail near Buffalo in April 2006. He was captured in September of the same year after shooting three troopers in two separate incidents.

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Traffic stop brings arrest in string of car break-ins

A Buffalo man faces numerous counts of grand larceny, petit larceny and criminal mischief in connection with dozens of car break-ins in and around the Tifft Nature Preserve area over the last year, Buffalo police reported Monday.

Edwin Cosme, 47, was arrested at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Fuhrmann Boulevard after he was stopped for a vehicle and traffic violation. Police said they found property inside that was previously reported stolen.

Cosme is believed to be responsible for the theft of credit cards, purses, cellular phones and GPS units, police said.

He also was charged by South District Officers Mark Andrzejak and Kevin Kennedy with numerous motor vehicle violations, including driving without valid registration and without insurance.

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Woman grabbed, thrown to ground by two robbers

A South Buffalo woman was robbed by two people on Seneca Street near Bailey Avenue on Monday morning.

The woman said she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground just before 10 a.m.

The robbers took her purse, which contained several items, including $50 and a credit card.

She suffered a back injury from the attack, which happened between Hayes Place and James P. Coppola Sr. Boulevard, according to police.

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Two DWI arrests in city lead to other charges

Buffalo police charged two city men with drunken driving Sunday night, one who they said was driving a stolen car, while the other had a dagger and straight razor.

Lance Orebeaux, 48, of Hirschbeck Street, was pulled over at Bailey and Minnesota avenues just after 10 p.m. and charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated.

During the incident, Orebeaux got out of his vehicle, became verbally abusive and came at officers, leading them to subdue him, according to a police report.

Police said they found an 8-inch silver dagger and sheath, as well as a straight razor, next to Orebeaux's driver's seat.

In addition to the DWI charges, Orebeaux was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, reckless driving, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle and running a red light.

About 30 minutes later, a Walden Avenue man was stopped driving a 1992 Ford Taurus at Seneca and Geary streets after he made an unsafe lane change, according to a police report.

Donald K. Scheifla, 39, was charged with driving while ability impaired, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle.

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DWI Saturation Patrol after game charges three

More than a dozen state troopers conducting a wide DWI Saturation Patrol following Sunday's Bills game charged three people with drunken driving, including a Lancaster man with six prior alcohol-related arrests, state police said.

Following a traffic stop for tinted windows on Transit Road in Elma, troopers charged Mark S. Bishop, 41, of Lancaster, with felony DWI. Bishop, who police said had the six prior arrests, also was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, for having his 7-year-old child in the vehicle with him.

State troopers also arrested Zachary J. Baldwin, 22, of Medina, and charged him with aggravated driving while intoxicated, a felony, following a traffic stop for a front-seat passenger with no seat belt on Armor Duells Road in Orchard Park.

And after a traffic stop for a broken tail light on Seneca Street in Elma, troopers charged Heather L. Strebel, 24, of Hamburg, with DWI.

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