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POLICE & COURTS

>Sex charges against man are again dismissed

LOCKPORT -- For the second time, sexual abuse charges against a former Niagara Falls nursing home worker were dismissed Friday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

David M. Payne, 46, of Niagara Avenue, Niagara Falls, had insisted on his innocence all along. He was indicted twice on charges of first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse. The charges were thrown out Jan. 30 when Murphy agreed with defense attorney Michele G. Bergevin that the evidence was insufficient.

Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco quickly obtained a new indictment on the same charges. However, Zucco said Friday that a recent interview with the alleged victim, an elderly woman, showed she no longer had a memory of the purported incident.

A co-worker at Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing Center alleged that Payne was in bed with the woman between 2 and 3 a.m. Aug. 29, 2008.

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>Man pleads guilty in drunken-driving case

LOCKPORT -- One man pleaded guilty and another not guilty in separate drunken-driving cases Friday before Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Arik A. Iannone, 33, of South 91st Street, Niagara Falls, admitted to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and was scheduled for sentencing Nov. 20. He was arrested Feb. 15 in Niagara Falls.

Luther I. Douglas, 22, of 87th Street, Niagara Falls, denied charges of felony DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and failing to stay in a designated lane. He was pulled over May 12 in Niagara Falls after police allegedly saw him make an illegal U-turn on Pine Avenue. Douglas' blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.18 percent.

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>Gun charges dropped against Falls woman

LOCKPORT -- Weapons possession charges were dropped against a Niagara Falls woman Thursday because her co-defendant in the July 13, 2008, incident admitted he owned the gun police found in the woman's purse.

Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell told Judge Matthew J. Murphy III that District Attorney Michael J. Violante had decided to drop the case against Akeia M. Martin, 30, of Sixth Street.

Two weeks ago, Martin's cousin, Arnold E. Leftwich, 29, of North Avenue, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree possession of a weapon, a loaded .32-caliber handgun. Police found him and Martin in an alley behind a Third Street bar when they were investigating a report of gunshots.

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