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2nd man gets prison in home invasion

It was a case of deja vu in Niagara County Court Friday, as a man convicted of 18 felonies in connection with a home invasion received the same sentence as his co-defendant did earlier in the week.

Antonio Clark, 21, of Prospect Street, drew eight years in prison after Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza heard -- and rejected -- the same arguments for discarding the verdict that co-defendant Rakeem J. Golson's lawyer had made unsuccessfully Tuesday.

Golson, 18, of Evans Street, was sentenced to eight years, although he also had a separate robbery conviction that Clark doesn't have. That added five more years to Golson's sentence.

A jury found them guilty May 20 on assorted counts of robbery, burglary, assault and conspiracy stemming from an invasion of a Locust Street apartment on April 3, 2007, when a man and a woman were pistol-whipped and robbed.

The prosecution's star witness was Amy L. Bower, 30, of North Adam Street, who turned state's evidence against Golson and Clark. She pleaded guilty to two felonies but was sentenced to a year in jail for crimes that could have brought her seven years behind bars.

On Friday, Clark's lawyer, E. Earl Key, argued that the jury was misinformed because they weren't told that Bower had received a sentencing break in exchange for her testimony against Clark and Golson.

Assistant District Attorney Brian E. Seaman said he wasn't obligated to reveal that in questioning Bower. "Mr. Key failed to bring that out on cross-examination," Seaman pointed out. He had made the same retort to attorney Philip Dabney's argument on behalf of Golson Tuesday.

Key said, "Although I respect the jury system, they got it wrong in this case. . . . We're certainly going to appeal."

In other action Friday, Sperrazza sentenced two sex offenders to 1 1/3 to four years in prison for violating the terms of their probation.

Gerald D. Zimmerman, 48, of Lockport Road, Niagara Falls, had been on probation since 2005, along with his wife Diana Zimmerman, 37. Gerald Zimmerman had pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree sexual abuse for molesting two children, then 6 and 7 years old, in 2002 and 2003.

Sperrazza said a probation officer found multiple images of a sexual organ on Zimmerman's home computer on Feb. 4. Also, the judge said, Zimmerman had bought a new Hummer despite being $50,000 behind on child support payments.

Also sent to prison Friday was Brandon E. Armstrong, 22, of 17th Avenue, North Tonawanda, who had been on probation since 2003 for having sexual contact with a girl younger than 11 in 2002-03.


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