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Burglar gets prison in shooting case

A burglar who shot at a homeowner who was chasing him was sent to prison Friday, as was a man who robbed three stores on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas imposed a four-year prison term on John E. McAllister, 24, of 14th Street, Niagara Falls, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary.

McAllister has been in the County Jail for almost two years since his arrest May 29, 2010, when a Chapin Avenue resident caught him in his home. That time will count toward his state prison sentence.

Defense attorney Angelo Musitano said the homeowner chased McAllister with a baseball bat, and on his way out of the house, McAllister grabbed a shotgun. He turned in the yard and fired one blast at the resident, missing him.

McAllister fled in a car with the homeowner in pursuit in his own auto. Police eventually stopped McAllister's car on Niagara Street and recovered a small safe stolen from the home.

Musitano blamed McAllister's crime on addiction to prescription painkillers. He also argued that McAllister didn't know the gun he had stolen was loaded.

"He purposefully pulled the trigger," Farkas replied.

In the other case, Jonathan L. Beckman, 43, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls, drew 2 1/3 to seven years behind bars for two counts of third-degree robbery and one count of attempted third-degree robbery.

Beckman claimed he had a gun but didn't really when he held up a Wilson Farms store on Pine Avenue on Nov. 26. On Christmas Eve, Beckman tried the same technique at a Tim Hortons and another Wilson Farms. He failed to get anything at the Wilson Farms, but he was ordered to pay $637 restitution to Tim Hortons.

In another case before Farkas on Friday, Michael W. Maloney, 39, of Harrington Road, Lockport, pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree robbery for trying to hold up Goulds Flowers on Locust Street in Lockport on Jan. 10.

Maloney used his finger to simulate a gun, police reported at the time, but the flower shop's employees refused to hand over any money. Maloney fled on foot.

Maloney, who has a previous felony conviction for drunken driving, faces up to four years in prison when he returns to court July 20; he's in the County Jail now.