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Judge puts trial on hold to consider evidence

The trial of Lennie D. Frankline, accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a pregnant 18-year-old in Niagara Falls last year, was put off for a week Thursday, as Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III ponders the admissibility of photos and movies from Frankline's digital camera.

The alleged victim of the June 29 attack had told police that Frankline, 33, took video of the assault, but police searched their Cedar Avenue apartment and didn't find it.

It was disclosed in court Thursday that the defense has a camera and a memory card that were in Frankline's effects when he was brought to the County Jail after being captured in Fresno, Calif., the following month.

Assistant Public Defender Michael E. Benedict said he has viewed 75 to 100 still pictures and 20 movie files from the card.

"The things I've seen so far, I wouldn't mind turning over," he said.

But Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann wants Murphy to order the defense to turn over the card and camera for forensic testing, to recover any deleted scenes. Benedict said there are some files Frankline said he remembered that he can't open, and a charger is necessary to check the camera's hard drive.

"The camera would show dates," Hoffmann argued, adding that she thinks the defense isn't allowed to pick and choose which images they want used at trial, now set for March 9.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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