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Lockport man faces charges in stabbing; Woman attacked in home remains in critical condition following surgery

A Genesee Street man accused of stabbing a woman Thursday morning in her Washburn Street home has been charged with second-degree attempted murder.

Hans S. Diefenbach, 47, arrested on Washburn shortly after the 9:30 a.m. attack, also faces charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

Norma Confer, 65, was discovered with a butcher knife in her back, police said. She was listed in critical condition late Thursday in Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, following surgery.

"It was a violent, unexpected attack," said Capt. Richard L. Podgers, chief of detectives. "[Diefenbach] kicked in the door and stabbed her while she was still in her nightgown."

Police said Diefenbach was arrested as officers headed to the attack scene.

Asked by Officer Thomas Gmerek why his clothing was bloody, Diefenbach replied, "From stabbing Norma," police said.

Podgers, who noted two knives were recovered at the scene, said "[Diefenbach] told us he went there to kill her."

Confer, who suffered several stab wounds, was stabilized by Lockport Fire Rescue before being taken to the medical center.

A man who rents a room in the house, believed to be Confer's grandson, heard the commotion and saw a man chasing Confer, Podgers added.

He said the man managed to force the attacker out the back door, then locked the door and waited with the victim until police arrived.

Police Chief Lawrence Eggert said Diefenbach put his hands up as soon as police got out of their patrol car and confronted him.

"He didn't say much to police, except that he was mad at [Confer]," Eggert said.

Podgers added that Diefenbach is known to police for mostly petty crimes, including misdemeanor drug charges.

Police, who would say only that the victim and Diefenbach are acquainted, were seeking a motive.

Diefenbach pleaded not guilty before City Judge William Watson. He was being held in Niagara County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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