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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. Two men and two women were 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. 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 Remington 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.


Sex assault on girl, 3, blamed on Fort Erie man

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A Fort Erie man accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl was arrested Friday by Niagara Regional Police Service Child Abuse Unit.

George A.A. Brooks, 37, of Dufferin Street, is charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, exposure to a child under 16 years and breach of probation. Brooks is being held pending a bail hearing at 10 a.m. today in St. Catharines.


Guilty plea entered in rooming house stabbing

Wilmon Vincent pleaded guilty Friday to fatally stabbing a fellow Dodge Street rooming house resident because he thought his victim had stolen money from him.

Vincent, 53, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and admitted that he intentionally attacked Chester Scott, 64, about 9 p.m. July 5 in their rooming house in the 100 block of Dodge.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio agreed to sentence Vincent to a prison term of at least 18 years on his pretrial plea as requested by Prosecutor Kristin A. St. Mary.

Defense attorney Andrew C. LoTempio told the judge he had advised Vincent to take the plea because even if they convinced a trial jury that he never intended to kill Scott, he still would face a longer prison term.

Vincent had been laying in wait for Scott and stabbed him at least 10 times during a confrontation in the rooming house about 9 p.m. last July 5 because he thought, but could never firmly establish, that Scott had stolen some money, St. Mary said.

Scott died hours later at Buffalo General Hospital.

Vincent, who had been facing a mandatory life term on his murder indictment, is scheduled for sentencing March 2. The judge told him she will also order 2 1/2 to 5 years of supervision after he completes his prison sentence.


Elma man, 42, indicted in high-profile DWI cases

An Elma man faces a possible prison term of up to eight years on his indictment Friday for felony drunken driving at speeds of almost 90 mph several months ago in both Orchard Park and Elma.

Free on bail pending his Jan. 21 arraignment, David W. Krieger, 42, of Bullis Road, Elma, was indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, said prosecutor James W. Mansour II.

Mansour said Krieger had his driver's license suspended after a misdemeanor drunken driving conviction last May in Williamsville.

He was arrested about 4:45 p.m. last Sept. 20 on Chestnut Ridge Road in Orchard Park for driving almost 90 mph with a container of malt liquor in his car and posting a blood-alcohol reading of 0.16 percent, twice the state's legal limit, Mansour said.

He was arrested again about 9:15 a.m. Sept. 23 on Girdle Road in Elma for allegedly driving over 70 mph with a blood-alcohol reading of O.22 percent, the prosecutor said.


Fort Erie man busted on pot-smuggling charges

A Fort Erie, Ont., man is accused of trying to smuggle 15 pounds of marijuana over the Peace Bridge into the United States, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officials said.

Michael Mazza, 40, was arrested by bridge officers on Thursday after 15 vacuum-sealed bags of alleged pot were found hidden inside a spare tire, the agency said.

Authorities estimated the street-sale value of the pot at $60,000 and said the Erie County District Attorney's Office will handle the case.

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