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POLICE & COURTS

Fatal Perry Street fire linked to careless smoking

A woman in her 40s died late Wednesday, shortly after fire broke out in her first-floor apartment in the Commodore Perry projects, fire officials said.

The fire, linked to careless smoking, broke out about 10:30 p.m. at 391 Perry St., officials said.

"The fire was confined to the living room and to her couch," said acting Fire Division Chief Walter Coakley, who noted that firefighters found the victim near the door. The woman, reportedly legally blind, was pronounced dead at the scene.

One firefighter from Engine 3 was taken to Erie County Medical Center with apparent shoulder injuries.

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Inmate, 24, charged in attack on deputy

Erie County sheriff's officials have accused an inmate of charging a deputy and striking him in the head and chest following a court appearance in Buffalo City Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The deputy, whose name hasn't been released, was treated for a jaw injury in Erie County Medical Center. Sheriff's deputies have charged Michael Bracco, 24, of 19th Street, Buffalo, with second-degree assault, menacing, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, authorities said. He was being held in the Erie County Holding Center on warrants accusing him of failure to register as a sex offender, aggravated harassment and stalking, according to police.

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'Dumbest criminal' handed a year in jail

LOCKPORT -- A man who skipped town to Indiana, then made it easy for police to find him through postings on Facebook and MySpace, was sentenced Wednesday in City Court to one year in jail on a misdemeanor charge.

Christopher K. Crego, 39, who one police officer suggested may qualify as "America's dumbest criminal," was extradited from Indiana after he missed his sentencing in October on third-degree assault. He also dodged community service for violating a conditional discharge for driving while ability impaired, authorities said.

He returns to court April 14 for a pretrial hearing on bail-jumping charges.

Crego, a tattoo artist, was convicted of the November 2008 beating with a beer bottle of Patrick Petrie Jr., the owner of Fratelli's Pizzeria in Lockport. Petrie had to undergo eye surgery, authorities said.

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Suicide victim's mother files claim against county

The mother of a man who committed suicide in the Erie County Holding Center has filed a notice of claim against Erie County, preserving her right to sue.

Faye Johanson, of North Tonawanda, blames the county and its jail officials, saying they should have known her son, Adam Murr, was at risk of suicide.

Murr, 31, was being held on bank robbery charges when he tied his shoelaces to an air vent and hanged himself Dec. 17. He was declared dead two days later in Buffalo General Hospital.

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