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Assault charge to be dropped against girl

Deborah Powell on Wednesday was granted a delayed dismissal on an assault charge in a fight Jan. 31 at Northampton Street and Fillmore Avenue with fellow East High School student Adrianna Jackson.

Jackson, 16, and her mother agreed with the adjournment in contemplation of dismissal of the reduced assault charge in the after-school fracas. Jackson was granted a one-year order of protection.

Buffalo City Judge James A.W. McLeod, who called the fight "a disgusting" reflection on today's youth, noted other East students used their cell phones to videotape the fight, which was shown on local TV.

Powell, 16, is a member of the family whose West Side house was the subject of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" television show in 2009.

McLeod said that as "a judge of color" and a "black father" he found the case unsettling. Both combatants are African-American.

A month ago, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III agreed to a reduction in the felony case pursued by Jackson's mother after a review of the student videos failed to find any weapons, including a box-cutter that Powell had been accused of wielding.

Wednesday, prosecutors emphasized that an injury Jackson suffered in the fight did not appear to have been caused by a sharp instrument and could have been the result of a fall. No weapon was ever recovered.

McLeod noted disturbing video images of unidentified students "laughing and joking" during the fight, which he said looked "like a riot in the dead of winter."

Powell, Jackson and their mothers declined to comment after the court session. But Timothy R. LoVallo, Powell's attorney, said his client, who is currently attending class at another Buffalo school, was grateful for the delayed dismissal. LoVallo said Powell "looks forward to completing her education and going on to college."

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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