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Plea deals possible in 2 fatalities

Plea-bargains appear to be in the works in connection with a pair of fatal accidents in Niagara County.

Ryan S. Lacey, 21, of Lockport, appeared before County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza Tuesday on a charge of violating his probation on a 2006 burglary conviction by being arrested in connection with a July 21 crash in North Tonawanda that killed his girlfriend, Kristina Moley, 19, of Wilson.

Lacey's sport utility vehicle ran off Ruie Road and crashed into a tree. Sperrazza said under normal circumstances, she would revoke Lacey's bail for such a violation while guaranteeing him a prison sentence later.

"The people advocating most strongly to keep that from happening are the victim's parents. That's unheard of. They're stronger and better people than me," said Sperrazza, who kept Lacey free on his own recognizance until he returns to court Oct. 16.

Moley's parents appeared to support Lacey when he was arraigned Aug. 13 in North Tonawanda City Court.

Defense attorney David J. Farrugia said a pre-indictment plea is likely Oct. 16. He said Lacey had been offered a chance to plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, which carries a maximum four-year prison term. Sperrazza could add more time for the probation violation if she chooses.

Lacey originally was charged by North Tonawanda police with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

Meanwhile, a similar resolution may be on tap in the case of Paul J. Sonnenmaier, 41, of Mesquite, Texas, whose 2009 Lincoln sedan struck a house on Tonawanda Creek Road North in Pendleton April 27. His wife, Linda L. Hosler, 45, was killed. Sonnenmaier was charged by State Police with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.

Attorneys in that case huddled with County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III Tuesday, and it was left up to the defense to choose a date to bring Sonnenmaier, who was not present Tuesday, to court for a possible pre-indictment plea.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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