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POLICE & COURTS

Reward offered for tips about burglary at tavern

FRENCH CREEK -- A liquor thief is wanted by Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies following an April 5 burglary at French Creek Tavern.

The Sheriff's Office, as part of its We Tip reward program, said that anyone with knowledge of the burglary and theft who contacts police would be eligible for a $1,000 reward when the information leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Police said the owner of the tavern is issuing an additional $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call toll-free (800) 782-7463.

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Seven jurors selected in twin's murder trial

LOCKPORT -- Seven jurors were selected Monday in Niagara County Court for the "identical twin" murder trial of Edward E. Nickens, who along with his twin brother, Raymond C. Nickens, were the suspects in the slaying of a Niagara Falls man last year.

Joshua Hayes, 23, of Whitney Avenue, was shot to death in front of the Nickens' Michigan Avenue home May 16, but not until Oct. 7 was Edward, 32, charged with the crime, after police concluded that Raymond was not present.

Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza warned the jurors the trial may last as long as 2 1/2 weeks. Jury selection will continue today, with the possibility of opening statements from the attorneys this afternoon if the jury is completed.

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Ex-UAW officer fined for gambling on the job

A former officer of the United Auto Workers was fined Monday by a federal judge for gambling at the Seneca Niagara Casino when he was supposed to be working for the union.

George M. Jemiolo, 61, of Amherst, was fined $3,000 by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, who also ordered him to pay $2,292 in restitution to Buffalo Local 424 of the UAW.

Investigators from the FBI and U.S. Labor Department learned that Jemiolo sometimes gambled when he was supposed to be doing work for the union in 2006 and 2007, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles B. Wydysh said.

Jemiolo pleaded guilty to a felony count of improper receipt of money by a union representative.

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Slaying victim's father cleared of molestation count

Michael A. Gibson, the father of Buffalo's latest homicide victim, was acquitted Monday of sexually molesting an adolescent boy in his Koons Avenue home several years ago.

After a trial before Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case, a jury took about two hours to find Gibson, 49, not guilty of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.

During the trial, the alleged victim identified Gibson as the man he claimed molested him periodically between June 2003 and early July 2004. Gibson didn't testify, but his two other sons, Michael Jr. and Andre, both told the jury their father was not home on the days the accuser, now 19, claims he was molested. Defense attorneys E. Earl Key and Samuel P. Davis said the boy falsely accused Gibson because he was upset at his own mother's relationship with the defendant nearly a decade ago.

After the verdict Gibson declined comment, but Key said "now he can go home and grieve for his son." Carlos Gibson, 26, of West Avenue, was fatally stabbed in early Sunday in Drifters sports bar, 1141 Military Road, Kenmore.

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Bronx native gets 7 years in firebombing of house

An apologetic Angel L. Carrion was sentenced Monday to seven years in state prison for firebombing the home of a next-door neighbor with whom he had a long-standing dispute.

Jailed since his arrest after the 5 a.m. incident last July 20, Carrion, 39, of Clark Street, pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to second-degree arson. On Monday, he told Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico, "I just want to apologize for it."

Defense attorney Joseph A. Agro said Carrion, a Bronx native previously imprisoned on drug and stolen property convictions there, has a history of psychiatric problems. Nevertheless, D'Amico imposed the stiff sentence, saying to the defendant, "It wasn't your best night, was it?"

Prosecutor Paul J. Glascott said Carrion, angered at the neighbor, threw a beer bottle filled with $1 worth of gasoline through a side window and was arrested about three hours later by Buffalo fire marshals. No one was injured in the house, Glascott said.

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Partial restitution allows woman to avoid jail

LOCKPORT -- Grace M. Price of Lockport has made partial restitution for thefts from Smokin' Joe's in Sanborn, and that was enough to keep her out of jail Monday.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III restored Price to probation after Assistant Public Defender David E. Blackley reported that Price paid $2,020 from her federal income tax refund toward the $76,941 restitution.

Price, 34, of Minnick Road, pleaded guilty in 2009 to third-degree grand larceny for stealing from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation business while she worked there from 2005 to 2008.

Murphy ordered her to pay at least $200 a month. She was flagged for a probation violation last year because she had paid only $276 in 11 months.

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