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Trial of two men in fatal shooting in Falls will go to the jury today

A Niagara County Court jury will begin deliberations today on the eighth day of the trial of two Buffalo men charged in the shooting death of a Niagara Falls man in the driveway of his 21st Street home Aug. 23, 2007.
Paul A. Osborne Jr., 22, and Brandon Dennis, 23, are charged with assorted counts of murder, robbery, weapons possession and assault in the death of Donald J. Paige Jr., 24.

Paige's sister was shot in the forearm, and his father was bitten on the arm and finger while trying to help protect the victim from two assailants.
The deliberations by the jury of six men and six women will begin following a closing argument by Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann and a charge to the jury by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.
Tuesday, the jury heard 45-minute summations by defense attorneys Matthew P. Pynn for Osborne and James M. Perry for Dennis.
Both attorneys concentrated their fire on the testimony of witness Victor L. Bullard, who said he was robbed at gunpoint by two men while sitting in Paige's sport utility vehicle.

Bullard is the only witness to identify both suspects, saying a short man in a black hooded sweat shirt was Osborne and a taller man in a brown hooded sweat shirt was Dennis.
Prosecutors allege that Dennis shot Paige twice, in the head and neck, while Osborne ran away after being pulled off Paige by the latter's father. The two attackers were pummeling Paige on the ground, the family members said.

Bullard, however, said he ran away after Paige emerged from his house after a short visit inside.
Perry said that DNA evidence from a brown baseball cap found at the scene showed it had been worn by Osborne, but Dichiara Paige, the woman who was shot in the arm, said it was on the head of the shooter, the only one of the attackers at whom she got a good look.
Perry called her "a young woman who put the hat on the wrong guy [and] maybe saw him for 15 seconds, part of the time upside down on the ground, during the most frightening time of her life."
Pynn said Paige was a drug dealer and Bullard was lying about several details "because he was involved in some way with Donnie Paige's illegal activities. . . . Victor Bullard wanted to hide his own cowardice. He left his friend to get beat up."
Bullard is also the only witness who said one of the attackers had a missing front tooth, which Dennis does.
Perry charged that Bullard wanted his description to match Dennis. "Why? There was stuff going on that night that doesn't make any sense. I don't know why," Perry said.
Another DNA test showed Paige's father, Donald Paige Sr., was bitten by Osborne during the struggle. Neither the elder Paige nor his daughter actually saw the shots fired; they said they both had their backs turned, Dichiara to push her brother back and Donald Sr. to go inside his house to tell those indoors to call 911.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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