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Verdict is guilty in fatal stabbing

Willie G. Cook Jr. was convicted by a judge Tuesday of first-degree manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old Niagara County Community College freshman during a Buffalo street fight eight months ago.

Cook, 20, of 14th Street, claimed he forgot he was holding a knife when he stabbed Alfred Lucas Jr. three times. State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns acquitted him of a second-degree murder charge following a three-day nonjury trial.

Lucas, a Buffalo high school graduate, was fatally stabbed at West Chippewa Street and South Elmwood Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 31 shortly after Cook and the victim's friends had been in a fight at Chippewa at Delaware Avenue.

In his verdict, the judge said he found no evidence that Cook had intentionally killed Lucas.

Homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said she will recommend the maximum 25-year prison term.

Jailed since his arrest, Cook was sent back to jail pending his July 26 sentencing.