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POLICE & COURTS

Man charged in assault on pregnant girlfriend

A West Side man this week held his nine-month-pregnant girlfriend captive for three days, beating her and stomping on her stomach, according to Buffalo police reports.

Eli E. Casillas, 28, of West Avenue, was arrested early Friday morning after police responded to a call to check on the welfare of the woman at 1:30 a.m. Police found the girlfriend badly injured in a bedroom in Casillas' house.

The pregnant woman had bruising, swelling, welts, a black eye and dried blood in her mouth, said police, who believe Casillas also choked the woman and beat her with a metal broom from Tuesday to early this morning.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Women & Children's Hospital, where her condition was unknown. The extent of her unborn child's injuries is unknown, though the woman told police the unborn baby seemed less active than normal.

Casillas was charged with assault, imprisonment, strangulation and criminal possession of a weapon.

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Two teens plead guilty to 5 graffiti charges

Two teens on Friday admitted they are the Kaisertown "taggers," and pleaded guilty to five counts of making graffiti before State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski.

David Moore, 18, of Weaver Street and Eric Strozier, 17, of Scoville Avenue, agreed to reimburse their victims $15,265 for defacing a number of buildings, including St. Bernard Catholic Church on Clinton Street.

Even if they come up with that money, they still face up to two years in the Erie County Correctional Facility when they are sentenced March 20, court officials said.

District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III stressed that neither person was given a plea deal to lower charges in connection with their Aug. 5 arrests while they were scrawling spray painted messages in the Clinton and South Ogden streets area.

In addition to the church, the pair also vandalized the HSBC Bank branch at 1989 Clinton St., a CVS drugstore at 360 Dingens St. and another building at North Services and Weaver streets.

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Hit-and-run victim dies of her injuries

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Falls woman who was struck Tuesday by a hit and run vehicle as she crossed Niagara Falls Boulevard died Thursday.

Zenobia Williams, 76, of Beech Avenue, died in Erie County Medical Center, hospital officials said.

Williams was hit at 5:35 p.m. while crossing the boulevard at 82nd Street, police said.

She suffered a head injury and broken bones.

Police are still searching for the driver of the vehicle, who fled west on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Police do not have a description of the vehicle.

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Police identify victims in 2 East side shootings

Buffalo police have identified victims in two recent shootings, one of them fatal.

Frederick Gelsey Jr., 30, was shot at 69 Briscoe Ave. at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Wayne P. Vance, 29, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, possession of a loaded firearm and resisting arrest after police responded to the home.

Erik White, 24, of Buffalo, was shot in the 1200 block of Fillmore Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. Friday.

White was rushed to Erie County Medical Center where he remained in critical condition Friday night.

As the search for his shooter continues Buffalo police are asking anyone with information to call or text the Buffalo Police Confidential TIPCALL line at (716) 847-2255.

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Clarence motel fire does $200,000 in damage

The Thursday night fire at the Rock Garden Motel in Clarence caused $200,000 in damage and left a 42-year-old Clarence man dead, Amherst fire officials said Friday.

Police Thursday night rushed to the motel at Main Street and Goodrich Road at 5:24 p.m. to find flames pouring from the front apartment of the six-unit building.

The fire was confined to three units, but the building received $150,000 in damage. There was $50,000 in damages to the building's contents.

Five motel occupants escaped unharmed, but not the 42-year-old Clarence man who fire officials said lived at the motel. They declined to release the man's name, pending further identification and notification of his family.

Investigators from the Erie County Sheriff's Office were at the scene of the fire Friday and had not yet determined the cause. No further information about the man or the fire's cause would likely be released until Monday, officials said.

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Parking van in intersection gets Cuba man DWI charge

A Cuba man faces drunken driving charges after parking his minivan in the middle of a Clarence intersection early Friday morning, state police reported.

Rockne A. Searle, 31, was driving a 2009 vehicle that troopers saw "unusually parked" in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Salt Road at 1:40 a.m., police said.

Searle was given field sobriety tests and charged with driving while intoxicated.