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POLICE & COURTS

Man burned badly in blast dies from his injuries

A Town of Tonawanda man burned in an explosion in his apartment last Wednesday morning died Monday in Erie County Medical Center, authorities said.

Jonathan Smith, 23, suffered serious burns over much of his body. Town of Tonawanda detectives have said they believe Smith intentionally opened a gas valve, sparking the explosion in his apartment at 9 Hale Court.

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Former union secretary could see time in prison

An Orchard Park man Monday pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott to a misdemeanor charge of falsification of financial records required to be kept by a labor union.

Thomas P. Wagner 49, faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a fine of $10,000 or both, when he is sentenced.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo said Wagner was the financial secretary for Steel Workers Local 897, which represents workers at ITT Heat Transfer in Cheektowaga.

From December 2004 to September 2008, Wagner made personal charges on his union credit card, then submitted fraudulent expense vouchers to the union to receive reimbursement for his personal charges. The union lost approximately $5,526 as a result.

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Girl rescued from creek dies in the hospital

The 13-year-old girl pulled from Cazenovia Creek on Monday afternoon died Tuesday in Women & Children's Hospital, authorities said.

Police said the girl, whose identity has not been released, slipped into the water near the Cazenovia Street bridge at about 4:30 p.m.

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Fugitive and his mother arrested at home in Eden

A fugitive and his mother who harbored him were arrested late Monday at their Bauer Road home in Eden, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

Daniel Dryden, 36, accused of violating an order of protection, was charged with felony criminal contempt.

Deputies said Dryden has made several threats against law enforcement and has a history of resisting arrest, escape and violence.

He and his mother, Debbie Dryden, 56, were taken into custody after they were spotted by deputies outside their home at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The mother was issued an appearance ticket on a charge of hindering prosecution, accused of knowing her son was being sought by authorities and providing him shelter.

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Man gets 3-year term for child pornography

A Town of Tonawanda man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to three years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Gary E. O'Neill, 58, had pleaded guilty to a felony charge in September. Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny also sentenced him to five years of supervised release after he completes his sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, said that in December 2009, O'Neill was found to have four videos and 75 images of child pornography on his home computer. Some of the children shown in the images were less than 12 years old, and some of the images portrayed depictions of violence. O'Neill had received the images over the Internet, the prosecutor said.

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Drug addict to receive treatment in prison

Willie R. Price III, an admitted drug addict who sold crack cocaine out of a small Jefferson Avenue flat, was sentenced Tuesday to 1 1/2 to three years in prison on his latest drug conviction.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio said she will recommend that Price, 33, of Elmhurst Street, be admitted to a state prison drug-treatment program.

The defendant and his lawyer, Michael L. D'Amico, accused prosecutors of falsely accusing Price of being an uncooperative witness in the City Grill shootings last August that left four dead and four wounded. The judge confirmed that there was no evidence Price was present during that early-morning incident.

After a four-day jury trial, Price was convicted May 5 of two felony counts of criminal possession of crack cocaine. Because of a 2005 felony drug conviction, he faced a mandatory prison term of up to 12 years. He had been free on bail until the jury verdict.

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Buffalo man gets 5 years on plea in home invasion

Darnell Allen, one of three men who broke into the apartment of eight University at Buffalo students, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison on his first-degree burglary plea.

Allen, 18, of Manhattan Avenue, and two as-yet-unidentified accomplices broke into the student flat on Highgate Avenue late on June 21, 2010, and at gunpoint stole property from students -- much of it recovered when Allen crashed a car also stolen from the students.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio imposed the sentence. Prosecutors said the investigation is continuing.

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