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POLICE & COURTS

Man gets 25 years to life for slaying best friend

Donnell "Coot" Lloyd was denounced as a menace Thursday as State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller sentenced him to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting his best friend, Larry Kemp, three years ago.

Lloyd, 30, had been a fugitive for almost two years until his capture in Syracuse last October. Prosecutors Thomas M. Finnerty and Patrick B. Shanahan urged the judge to impose the maximum prison term. Finnerty called Lloyd a "menace to society," noting he was on parole and cut off an electronic ankle bracelet when he fled after the shooting.

The prosecutors also noted Lloyd continues to deny responsibility for gunning down an unarmed man at close range at about 2 p.m. Sept. 23, 2007, outside Lloyd's Warring Avenue home.

Finnerty and Shanahan also noted no motive has ever been established for the shooting. Lloyd's ex-girlfriend, Natalie Robinson, testified that, from the second-floor bedroom she shared with Lloyd, she heard Kemp yell, "No, Coot, don't" and, "Coot, Coot, why would you do this?"

Lloyd was tracked in Syracuse, where he had been living with relatives.

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Clarence fire triggered when gas line ruptures

A natural gas line ruptured early Thursday morning in Clarence, sparking a small blaze, fire officials said.

The fire was reported at 2:55 a.m. at 8964 Wehrle Drive. It was unclear whether the fire was started by lightning from a storm that struck the region at about the same time.

The Harris Hill Fire Company responded.

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Life in prison possible for area drug kingpin

A North Tonawanda man faces a possible life sentence after he pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

Anthony Lamarand, 30, was involved in a large-scale drug-trafficking organization that operated in parts of Niagara and northern Erie counties between January and July 2009, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney

Michael L. McCabe.

McCabe said Lamarand distributed, on average, one kilogram of powder cocaine each month to multiple customers in the Northtowns. In addition, McCabe said, Lamarand fled the area on July 30, 2009, as federal authorities attempted to execute an arrest warrant in the case, but, in August 2009, Lamarand was later apprehended near Atlanta.

Lamarand's plea followed an investigation by members of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, the Niagara County Drug Task Force and the Niagara Falls Police Department.

He is scheduled to be sentenced at 12:30 p.m. in front of U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

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Buffalo man, 30, charged in May 25 stabbing death

A Buffalo man has been charged with the May slaying of a 61-year-old man in his Elmwood Avenue apartment.

Robert Mills, 30, is accused of killing Anthony A. LoCascio, whose body was found in his second-floor apartment in the early-morning hours of May 25.

Police accuse Mills of robbing LoCascio, then stabbing him to death. He has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, police said Thursday.

Police provided no other details.

Homicide detectives also arrested Cherie Utter, 24, of no permanent address, and charged her with robbery in connection with the incident.

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SWAT teams arrest two on cocaine charges

Two men have been arrested on multiple charges of cocaine possession.

Joshua John, 30, of Route 438, Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, and Asa Washburn, 22, of Commercial Street, Farnham, were arrested early Wednesday after the Sheriff's Office SWAT teams from Erie and Chautauqua counties executed search warrants at the suspects' homes.

John also was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Two children younger than 5 were home at the time of the raid, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

In John's home, police also found a homemade explosive device that was turned over to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Mushrooms, marijuana seized in Batavia raid

BATAVIA -- A yearlong investigation into the sale of cocaine and other illegal drugs in and around Batavia culminated Wednesday in the arrest of a Tracy Avenue man.

Dyllon E. Soccio, 20, was allegedly found to be in possession of three-quarters of a pound of mushrooms, 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana, an unspecified quantity of powder cocaine, Hydrocodone pills, Valium and $2,096 in cash when members of the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force raided his home.

He was charged with one count each of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree. He also faces three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.|

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