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Drunken trip for a taco lands driver behind bars

LOCKPORT -- "You seem to be the kind of person who needs punishment," Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told a drunken driver Friday before sending him to prison for one to three years.

Serge D. Reuillard, 44, of Cayuga Drive, Niagara Falls, had pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated in the wake of his arrest at 1:20 a.m. April 9 on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield. Murphy said Reuillard was on his way to Mighty Taco at the time.


House arrest ordered for Falls father of two

LOCKPORT -- Concern over what would happen to the defendant's two small children if he went to prison prompted Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza to give him a chance at probation Friday.

Arik A. Iannone, 34, of 74th Street, Niagara Falls, will be under virtual house arrest for six months through an electronic home monitor. Sperrazza was unhappy when she learned that Iannone's ex-wife would end up with the children. "She can't take care of them," said the judge, who was familiar with the woman from past appearances in court.

Iannone showed up drunk for a probation interview last month, further irritating the judge, who could have given him four years in prison for attempted second-degree assault.

Iannone punched a man in the jaw while he had a shot glass concealed in his fist outside a Niagara Falls bar Aug. 25, 2009. The man fell backwards onto the bar's steps and needed back surgery.


Final pieces in place for Hassan murder trial

The highly anticipated murder trial of Muzzammil S. "Mo" Hassan's begins Tuesday.

Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk swore in the last six members of the 12-member jury, which includes eight men and four women, at about 5:30 p.m. Friday after five days of jury selection in a basement courtroom at 25 Delaware Ave. Two men and two women were also chosen as alternates.

Defense attorney Jeremy D. Schwartz said he anticipates the trial could last a few weeks.

Hassan, 46, has been jailed since Feb. 12, 2009, when he turned himself in to police. The body of his wife, Aasiya, 37, was found stabbed and beheaded in their Orchard Park television studio. She had filed for divorce a week earlier.


North Tonawanda man surrenders in shooting

A North Tonawanda man was charged Friday with felony reckless endangerment after using a shotgun to shoot out the tires on his girlfriend's vehicle. Erie County sheriff's deputies said.

Bartholomew Mazzara, 36, of Remmington Drive turned himself in to Erie County sheriff's detectives early Friday in connection with the alleged shooting late Thursday outside his girlfriend's Fix Road residence on Grand Island.

Mazzara was additionally charged with menacing, endangering the welfare of a child (who was looking outside the window of a nearby home when the alleged shooting occurred), criminal possession of a weapon and felony criminal mischief.

He was arraigned in Grand Island Town Court and transferred to the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $10,000 bail.


Three illegal immigrants charged following chase

RANSOMVILLE -- Three illegal immigrants were taken into custody Friday after a traffic stop turned into a police search of a wooded area near Ransomville and New roads, Niagara County sheriff's deputies reported.

The incident started about 8:30 a.m., when Deputy Sean Furey spotted a motorist who was not wearing a seat belt, according to sheriff's reports. The driver, Jesus Garcia-Rosario, presented an expired Mexican driver's license and a front-seat passenger, Janna Marie Smith, 24, of Ransomville, presented a valid New York State license and registration for the vehicle, Furey said.

Three passengers in the back seat could not produce identification, the deputy said, and two of them fled the vehicle. Deputies, state police and U.S. Border Patrol agents joined the search before Deputy Paul Harrer escorted the pair out of the woods at gunpoint near the 2400 block Youngstown- Lockport Road about 10 minutes after the search began, sheriff's officials said.

All three back-seat passengers, Blanca Reyes-Rios, Saul Pacheco-Garcia and Martin Garcia-Rosario, were taken into custody by Border Patrol. The driver has a deportation hearing pending.


Snowblowers stolen in pair of break-ins

NIAGARA FALLS -- Snowblowers were the targets in unrelated burglaries reported Thursday, police said.

The door to a garage in the 2400 block of Grand Avenue was forced overnight Wednesday and an air compressor, snowblower and lawnmower were stolen. The loss and damage were estimated at $2,900.

Also stolen was a 24-inch snowblower valued at $700, which had been secured by cables in the backyard of a home 1000 block of 19th Street, police said.

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