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Three face DWI charges; two take pleas

Three unrelated cases of felony driving while intoxicated were heard in Niagara County Court on Tuesday, and pleas were accepted in two of them.

Michael D. McKenna, 39, of Sunnyside Drive in Niagara Falls -- a man with a history of DWI charges, including two prior arrests and two current cases -- pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated, the most serious charge in the two current cases. He remains in county jail without bail as he awaits sentencing Dec. 2.

He was arrested May 20 in the Town of Niagara, just hours after posting $2,500 bail on a DWI indictment involving an April 24, 2010, arrest in the same town.

McKenna admitted to having two prior DWI arrests, in 2000 and 2007, when he was stopped in 2010. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed the May 20 charges.

Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza refused to entertain any motions for bail to care for his elderly grandparents, with whom McKenna lives.

Prosecutors recommended up to four years in state prison, but Sperrazza still could sentence McKenna to up to seven years. She said she will likely order an ignition interlock on McKenna's vehicle.

In another case, Bryan J. Branch, 32, of Dysinger Road, Lockport, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI and resisting arrest before Sperrazza. He originally was charged with felony DWI.

Branch ran from Lockport police and fought with an officer before he was arrested Feb. 24 on Mill Street.

In State Supreme Court, a Town of Tonawanda man with a long history of DWI charges appeared before Judge Richard C. Kloch Sr.

Robert B. Johnson, 43, of Raintree Island, who had three previous DWI convictions, has been indicted on two felony DWIs following traffic stops Feb. 1 and again June 29, both in North Tonawanda. He was convicted on DWI counts in April 2006 and August 2006.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Scalzo told Kloch that Johnson has been offered a plea to the top DWI charge in the February case.