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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>6 protesters deny charges linked to banner over gorge

NIAGARA FALLS -- Six environmental activists pleaded not guilty Thursday in Niagara Falls City Court on charges linked to the hanging of a 70-foot protest banner from the observation deck over the Niagara Gorge on Tuesday.

Five members of Rainforest Action Group were charged with misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment, criminal trespassing, and violation disorderly conduct for hazardous action and property closed to public. They were identified as Nicholas A. Simmons, 25, of Vashon, Wash.; Kristen L. Stankiewicz, 30, of Portland, Ore.; Aleythea R. Dolstad-Lowen, 23, also of Vashon; Duane M. Martinez, 28, of Ashland, Ore.; and Logan W. Price, 25, of Goldendale, Wash.

Each was released on $500 bail. A return court date was set for Nov. 18.

The banner protested the mining of tar sands oil. State Parks Police arrested the five, who were rappelling, when they returned to the observation deck.

Jennifer L. Krill, 37, of Berkeley, Calif., who was handing out fliers, pleaded not guilty to criminal solicitation and posted $100 bail. Her case was adjourned to Oct. 26.

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>Police probe assault during football game

NIAGARA FALLS -- An 8-year-old boy smashed in the face with a football helmet early Wednesday evening had his nose broken in two places, Niagara Falls police said.

Police said they are considering charges in the attack, which occurred during a game behind LaSalle Prep School on Buffalo Avenue. The victim told police that a player for another team became upset when someone else threw a helmet at him. The boy was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

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>Man injected woman with heroin, police say

SANBORN -- A 27-year-old Niagara Falls woman told sheriff's deputies Wednesday night that she was injected with heroin without her permission at a parking lot on Shenk Road.

The victim, a resident of 98th Street woman, said she was partying with friends between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Wednesday when a man grabbed her arm, wrapped it with rubber and plastic and said, "Here have some of this. It is good," sticking her with a needle that he said contained heroin. She said she is not a drug user.

Deputies said the woman indicated she "felt weird" and fell asleep afterward.

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>Guilty plea entered in slaying of woman

A man charged in the death of a North Tonawanda woman pleaded guilty Wednesday just as jury selection was concluding in Monroe County Court.

Andrew T. Pajek, 45, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the stabbing death of his estranged girlfriend, Kimberly Lynn Feketi, on Nov. 9 in the Rochester suburb of Greece.

He is expected to be sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison when he returns for sentencing on Oct. 14.

The couple had two girls together, and Feketi was stabbed when she went to pick up the children in the Rochester suburb. A neighbor who came to her aid, Richard Leffler, 64, was stabbed just above the heart and suffered a punctured lung.

Pajek then stabbed himself in the chest in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

The girls are now living with family in Rochester, Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride said.

A plea bargain shaved five years from a 25 years to life term that could have come had Pajek been convicted on the original manslaughter charge, but he was forced to plead to murder.

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>Island resident pleads guilty to burglary

LOCKPORT -- A Grand Island man, one of three residents of that town charged in a string of house burglaries in Niagara County, pleaded guilty Thursday before Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Samar Abdellatif, 21, of East River Road, admitted to one count of third-degree burglary to settle the case. He could be sentenced to as long as seven years in prison when he returns to court Dec. 3. He also must pay $1,631 in restitution, which is one-third of the total loss for the property owners.

Abdellatif specifically admitted to taking part in a Feb. 17 break-in on Lower Mountain Road in Cambria. Other burglaries attributed to the three occurred Feb. 10 on Subbera Road in Cambria and Feb. 25 on Daniels Road in Wilson.

Co-defendant Erick Robinson, 23, of Ransom Road, pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to third-degree burglary and is to be sentenced Nov. 18. The third defendant has yet to be arrested, Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said.

Abdellatif has pleaded guilty to two burglaries in Erie County and is to be sentenced Nov. 24 in State Supreme Court in Buffalo, the Erie County district attorney's office said.

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>Missing tank of argon at school triggers probe

SANBORN -- Authorities are probing the possibility of theft in the disappearance of a canister of argon gas, used for welding, from a classroom in the Board of Cooperative Educational Services on Saunders Settlement Road.

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