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POLICE & COURTS

Sex offender accused of failing to register

DELEVAN -- Mark A. Wentz Jr., 34, of Pine View Drive, has been arrested by Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies for alleged failure to register as a sex offender.

Wentz faces charges of failure to register with the state sex offender registry and is accused of being in arrears on child support.

Following arraignment in Machias Town Court, Wentz is in Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail.

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Corfu mayoral candidate indicted on murder charge

BATAVIA -- A Genesee County grand jury Thursday handed up a second-degree murder charge two days after a Pembroke man was bludgeoned to death in his driveway.

Scott F. Doll, 46, of Corfu, will be arraigned March 4 in Genesee County Court. He remains in the county jail without bail.

Doll is accused of beating to death Joseph E. Benaquist, 66, in the victim's driveway on Knapp Road. He was arrested hours later after Genesee County sheriff's deputies received a tip.

Doll is a member of a well-known Corfu family that ran the village's only supermarket for decades. He is also the Republican candidate for village mayor in next month's election.

He and Benaquist worked together as corrections officers at Wende Correctional Facility until the victim retired. Later, both were involved in fixing and reselling old cars.

Sheriff Gary T. Mana said investigators are still uncertain of the motive.

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Injured train engineer is awarded $930,401

John Murphy, a former Hamburg-based locomotive engineer whose career ended after a fall six years ago, was awarded $930,401 by a Buffalo jury, court officials said Thursday.

The self-insured CSX Transportation company was ordered to pay Murphy, now 69, for cervical, rotator cuff and closed-head injuries he suffered Aug. 28, 2003.

Patrick J. Donoghue and John F. Collins, Murphy's attorneys, said he was attempting to start a locomotive engine in the railroad's Niagara Yard in Niagara County when an oil spill near the engine caused him to fall off the locomotive and suffer the injuries.

Murphy and his wife now live near Tampa, Fla., his attorneys said. Though ambulatory, Murphy will need medical care for the rest of his life, his Buffalo attorneys said.

The verdict followed a nearly three-week trial before State Supreme Court Justice Rose H. Sconiers. CSX attorneys could not be reached to comment about a possible appeal.

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Hearing set on mail fraud, money laundering charges

A detention hearing will be held Monday in federal court for a former Niagara Falls businessman accused of mail fraud and money laundering.

Bhavesh H. Kamdar, 42, who denies the charges filed against him by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agents, appeared briefly in court Thursday with his attorney, Joseph V. Sedita.

Kamdar, who formerly lived in Amherst while operating an environmental business in Niagara Falls, was in India when he was charged in 2004 in a 31-count federal indictment.

The U.S. attorney's office accused Kamdar of defrauding New York State out of $1.2 million while his company had a contract with the state to remove underground gasoline tanks at numerous sites. His attorney claims that, in fact, Kamdar saved the state money.

Prosecutor Anthony M. Bruce alleged that Kamdar went to India for several years to avoid prosecution. He said he feels Kamdar will flee from the region again, and he will ask U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott to order him jailed until his case comes to trial.

Kamdar willingly returned to Buffalo to face the charges and will not flee, Sedita said.

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Westfield woman accused of assaulting juvenile

RIPLEY -- A Westfield woman faces felony assault charges for allegedly abusing a juvenile male in December, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said Thursday.

Jennifer L. Sanford, 19, of Pearl Street, was in Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 property bond following arraignment. The victim was injured Dec. 18 and taken to Westfield Hospital, then to Women and Children's Hospital, Buffalo, where he was treated for a broken arm and multiple bruises and abrasions. Further information was unavailable.

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