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Plea deal pending in sex attack on girl, 10

A plea deal is now on the table for a Lewiston man accused in the sexual assault and knife attack on a 10-year-old Niagara Falls girl May 21.

Kim I. Tipton, 32, of Jarrett Street, appeared in Niagara County Court on Thursday before Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Tipton faces a 16-count indictment that includes charges of attempted murder and predatory sexual assault against a child. The latter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The prosecution denied a lengthy period to offer the plea, saying the deal will be off the table after Monday.

"The trial date is Oct. 17, and we have three children under 11 to prepare for court [if the deal is rejected,]" Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello told Sperrazza.

The case was adjourned to Monday. Neither side would discuss the plea deal. Defense attorney Robert Viola said after court that the prosecution has "a compelling case."

Sperrazza also admitted into evidence Thursday what she called Tipton's "spontaneous statements" to patrol officers and his videotaped interviews with detectives.

Tipton was convicted of robbing a pregnant woman at knifepoint in 2002 in a Town of Niagara tanning salon. Sperrazza said Officer Ronald J. Cirrito's interview statement of "You've been through this before in the Town of Niagara" would not be allowed because it is "prejudicial to the jury," Sperrazza said.

In other court matters:

*A public defender was assigned to Wilbert Hayes III, a suspect in a homicide case.

Hayes' former attorneys, Angelo Musitano and co-counsel James J. Faso Jr. were allowed to withdraw from the case last week because Hayes and his family were unable to pay the legal fees.

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.

*Errol J. Vanduyne, 33, of Highland Avenue, Niagara Falls, was sentenced to two to four years in state prison on his original guilty plea to third-degree burglary after being removed from the judicial diversion program by Sperrazza. Vanduyne was removed from two drug-treatment centers for threatening behavior toward the staff, according to a hearing. His original crime was stealing copper pipe from a house on Ninth Street in the Falls between Sept. 26 and 28, 2009.

*A North Tonawanda man who stole $77,564 from his grandparents in 2009 and 2010 through checks and credit cards was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 3 years in prison.

Christopher S. Holland, 35, of Castlebar Drive, had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny April 20. He is a three-time felon with a record of 33 months in federal prison for selling fentanyl patches.

Holland's mother told the court that her son had tried to take his life in prison and that she was afraid he would do so again if he were sent back. Sperrazza said that Holland must serve a minimum sentence based on his status but asked that he be assigned to a facility equipped to handle his mental condition.