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Mother accused of leaving three children alone in hotel

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Rochester woman is accused of leaving her three young children alone for up to eight hours while she was gambling at Seneca Niagara Casino.

Daciann D. Brown, 26, of Abery Street, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in City Court to three counts of child endangerment and was released on her own recognizance.

Hotel security told police they found an 8-year-old, 5-year-old and 1-year-old alone in their room just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, after the 5-year-old girl called the desk to ask where her mother was.


Abandoned pets spark animal cruelty arrest

LOCKPORT -- A Prospect Street man was charged with more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty Tuesday for abandoning 15 cats in a Park Avenue apartment after moving.

SPCA officials described conditions in the apartment as "horrendous."

Kim "Kevin" Veach, 51, pleaded not guilty in City Court on Wednesday to animal cruelty and leaving dogs at large and was released on his own recognizance. He still faces additional sanitation charges in court Feb. 3.

SPCA Executive Director James Faso said authorities went to the Park Avenue address Tuesday after it was condemned by the Niagara County Health Department.

"You could smell it walking up to the house. The conditions were horrendous. There was several inches of cat feces and no food or water," Faso said.

He said that the SPCA took possession of 15 cats and that two died on the way to the shelter. Faso said that when Veach was arrested at his new Prospect Street residence, authorities found four dogs and six cats, also confiscated.


Missing man discovered dead in West Virginia

NEWFANE -- A missing 52-year-old Newfane man has been found dead in West Virginia, Niagara County sheriff's officials said Tuesday.

James Carl Taylor was reported missing by family members Friday. His body was found near Wayne, W.Va. Police are investigating the death but say there was no foul play, Niagara County sheriff's officials said.


Prison term gives pause to man in cocaine case

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man was astonished when Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III sentenced him to four years in prison Wednesday for cocaine possession.

"For a gram?" Paul L. Hall Sr., 37, of Ontario Avenue, asked repeatedly after hearing the sentence for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Murphy made no comment.

Hall had been charged with intending to sell cocaine Feb. 24 in Niagara Falls. His previous record includes a federal conviction for distribution of cocaine base.


Guilty plea entered in copper, brass theft

LOCKPORT -- Gregory M. Guthrie, 24, of 95th Street, Niagara Falls, admitted Wednesday in Niagara County Court that he stole copper and brass pipes from the former Bell Aerospace plant in Wheatfield last February.

Guthrie pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree burglary, agreed to pay $3,150 as his half of the restitution tab to what is now known as Wheatfield Business Park and said he would testify if needed against co-defendant Ernest T. Nagurney, 23, of 95th Street. Guthrie's sentencing is scheduled for March 30.

The men were accused of several break-ins at the plant and of selling the stolen metal for scrap at Niagara Metalico in the Town of Niagara.


Boot camp recommended for probation violator

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza recommended the state's boot camp-style "shock incarceration" program for a man who violated probation in a drug case.

If Raymond E. Lopez, 21, of Esther Street, North Tonawanda, flops in that six-month program he will serve 18 months in a regular prison, said Sperrazza, who called Lopez "lazy." He sold oxycodone in North Tonawanda on June 4, 2009.

Also Wednesday, Sperrazza imposed a one-year county jail term on Michael J. Sidebottom, 27, of Chestnut Road, Wilson, for his third probation violation on a 2007 conviction for felony driving while intoxicated.


Falls police probing 2 unrelated stabbings

NIAGARA FALLS -- City police are investigating two unrelated stabbing cases Tuesday -- both resulting in minor injuries.

At about 1 p.m. in the 1200 block of 13th Street, a 26-year-old man said he was stabbed in the stomach by a woman as the two argued. He was treated for a small cut and checked for internal injuries in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, police said. A Niagara Street man who was stabbed in the back at about 4 p.m. didn't know he was injured until waking up with pain and blood Wednesday, police said . He said he was stabbed with an ice pick in a fight over money at Seventh Street and Pine Avenue.

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