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Man gets 181/2 years in prison for assault on ex-girlfriend

Mario Cox, a much-arrested Buffalo sex offender and burglar, Friday was ordered by Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk to spend up to 18 1/2 years in prison for physically assaulting and emotionally harassing his former girlfriend two years ago.

Cox, 38, said he wanted to "apologize for my actions and the choices that I made here" and vowed to do something positive for his young daughter when he gets out of prison.

But the judge replied, "Your ability to lead a law-abiding life is suspect at best."

Cox, whose history of local sex crimes and burglaries dates back two decades, was convicted Oct. 28 of second-degree burglary and criminal contempt for breaking into his former girlfriend's Buffalo home on Sept. 25, 2009.

Cox has been jailed since his arrest the day of that incident, but his sentencing was postponed as the judge considered efforts by Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III and prosecutor Kristin A. St. Mary to have him sentenced to a life term as an incorrigible felon.

The judge declined the prosecution's request but sentenced the much-arrested Cox as a second-time violent felon.

St. Mary said the victim of the 2009 incident is a now-43-year-old Buffalo paralegal who struck up a relationship with Cox after he was released from prison three years ago in a burglary case.

After she broke off the relationship, she had to get orders of protection against Cox, which he repeatedly violated, the prosecutor said.

On June 6, 2009, Cox confronted the victim when she was delivering some of his clothing to the Dartmouth Avenue home of another of his women friends, and he punched her and pushed her down a flight of stairs.

Cox kept phoning the victim and making texting threats to her, and on June 12, 2009, was arrested when she called 9ll as he tried to break into her Buffalo home, St. Mary said. He was found hiding in bushes near the home.

He posted bail and on Sept. 25, 2009, broke into her home as she was preparing to go out with some women friends, one of whom managed to call police after Cox threatened to kill the victim, the prosecutor said.

During the jury trial last October, the victim testified that as Cox stood in her living room that day before police arrived, he was walking around the room looking "like an angry bull," St. Mary said after Friday's sentencing.

The prosecutor said Cox was in prison from February 1994 to April 1998 on his 1993 attempted rape and sex-abuse conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Buffalo girl in September 1992. He was paroled in June 2008 after serving seven years on a Buffalo burglary conviction.

Robert M. Goldstein, Cox's attorney, Friday contended there were really "no innocent parties" in his client's latest court case. He said the victim of the 2009 incidents had a history of wanting "to push his buttons whenever she could."

But the judge cited what he called the "misfortune" of all the women who hooked up with Cox as he imposed the stiff prison term.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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