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City ponders damage in King Park vandalism

A vandal on an all-terrain vehicle may have damaged lawns at the city-owned Martin Luther King Park.

City officials met Wednesday with members of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to discuss incidents that occurred over the weekend off Best Street, not far from the Kensington Expressway. While officials won't know the extent of damage until the snow melts, City Deputy Parks Commissioner Andrew R. Rabb said he is hopeful that the lawn damage is only minor damage.

In a worst-case scenario, he added, crews will have to fill in tire ruts with soil.


No new members added to Hassan murder jury

A fourth day of jury selection in the Muzzammil S. "Mo" Hassan murder trial ended with no more members chosen for the panel.

Tuesday, seven people had been seated in the case that will be heard by Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. About 50 prospective jurors were excused from service Wednesday. Jury selection is slated to resume at about 10 a.m. today. Hassan, 46, a former banker and cable television entrepreneur has been jailed since he turned himself in to Orchard Park police an hour after he allegedly beheaded his third wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, 37, in their Orchard Park cable station office on Feb. 12, 2009.

Court officials Wednesday said that about 150 prospective jurors have been excused from service on the case for various reasons.


Former teacher going prison in child porn case

A former Dunkirk elementary school teacher who earlier pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography was sentenced Wednesday to 48 months in prison.

Joseph T. Sautter, 38, of Blasdell, also will serve five years of supervised release under the sentence handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

An investigation was launched by school officials who contacted the FBI after suspected child pornography was found on a school computer used by Sautter. Authorities reported that additional child pornography was also found on Sautter's personal computer at his Roseview Avenue apartment.

According to the criminal complaint, Sautter admitted to federal agents that he had a sexual attraction to minor females and downloaded images of girls ages 12-14 posing in sexual positions for about a year prior to his arrest last fall.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, authorities determined that the defendant possessed almost 1,500 images of child pornography.

Skretny told Sautter he had abused the trust of the school and the families of the students in the district. Sautter relinquished his teaching license as a result of this case.


Mail, wire fraud charges handed up in indictment

A Buffalo man faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted on mail and wire fraud charges after a federal grand jury handed up an indictment against him, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said.

Daryl J. Chase, 42, is charged with operating a fraudulent vending machine sale business under five different names, prosecutors said. The indictment alleges Chase advertised vending machine equipment for sale on the Internet. Six people paid him $19,338 to buy the equipment, but Chase didn't deliver the machines or refund their money, authorities said.


Victim of Carrollton fire identified; cause unknown

CARROLLTON -- Mark Denfrund, 50, has been identified as the victim of the fire that raced through his home on Ten Mile Road at about 4 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

The Cattaraugus County Fire Investigation Team has yet to determine the cause of the blaze, Investigator Nate Root said.


Marijuana plants seized in Niagara-on-the-Lake raid

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- Marijuana plants valued at $76,410 were seized from a home in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Regional Police said.

A home at 490 Williams St. was searched Tuesday by members of the Niagara Regional Police Service Guns, Gangs and Grows Unit, police said. The marijuana was found growing in the basement, and 76 plants were seized.

The plants were in their early stages of growth, police said. Cocaine, dried marijuana and money were seized from locations elsewhere in the home, police said, as was equipment used to grow the pot.

Camilo Giraldo Gomez, 21, of Hamilton, was arrested on multiple drug-related charges, police said. He remains in custody pending a bail hearing.


Jamestown man accused of driving while on drugs

JAMESTOWN -- A Jamestown man was charged with driving under the influence of drugs following a crash at about 4 p.m. Wednesday at East Second and Winsor streets, Jamestown police said.

Samuel V. Brigiotta, 57, failed to yield the right of way when he made a turn and triggered a three-car collision, police said.

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