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Stabbing suspect given deadline to pay lawyers

Wilbert Hayes III, who faces a first-degree manslaughter charge for stabbing a friend to death during a fight at a card game, has until Sept. 15 to pay his lawyers, or he'll have to find new ones.

Defense attorney Angelo Musitano said Friday that he and co-counsel James J. Faso Jr. filed a motion with Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, asking to withdraw from the case.

Musitano said Hayes' family has suffered some financial reverses and can't pay their legal fees. He said if the family doesn't raise the money by Sept. 15, he and Faso will step aside.

Hayes, 26, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, intends to offer a self-defense argument in regard to the March 15 stabbing of Donald T. Nix, 26, of Falls Street, during a card game in an apartment on Ashland Avenue. Nix died in Erie County Medical Center on March 16. Hayes is free on $25,000 bail.

In other court action Friday, Jerome K. Warren, who pleaded guilty to three crimes, was sentenced by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza to three to six years in prison.

Warren, 36, of 61st Street, Niagara Falls, had admitted to third-degree burglary, driving while impaired by drugs, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Warren stole a safe from a home on Caravelle Drive in the Falls on June 14, 2010. He also was arrested in a Feb. 2 traffic stop in Lewiston, where police found Xanax and Suboxone in his vehicle.

Sperrazza imposed a six-month County Jail term on Christopher Empson, 22, of Weston Avenue, Niagara Falls, who violated the terms of his probation by failing to complete a stint in the county work program.

Empson had pleaded guilty in 2006 to attempted third-degree burglary for entering a home on C Street in the Town of Niagara's Cayuga Village mobile home park Nov. 18, 2005, and stealing a telephone and a pocket knife.

Ondrae L. Florence, 42, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and was scheduled for sentencing by Sperrazza Dec. 2.

He had a loaded revolver in his car when he was pulled over in Lewiston on Sept. 25.

Lysander C. Scott, 26, of LaSalle Avenue, Niagara Falls, admitted to attempted fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and is to be sentenced by Sperrazza on Nov. 1.

Scott was accused of selling crack cocaine in Niagara Falls Nov. 12 and 16.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. placed Lamar P. Johnson on interim probation for a year, pending a final sentencing decision on his guilty plea to attempted third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Johnson, 30, of Cottage Street, Lockport, had admitted to selling cocaine to a police agent Nov. 2 in the Town of Niagara.