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Killer-for-hire plot lands inmate in trouble

An Orleans Correctional Facility inmate has been indicted on a charge of second-degree conspiracy for agreeing to pay an undercover state police investigator $10,000 to kill the victim of his crime, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Brendon Berndt, 26, was an inmate at the Gowanda Correctional Facility at the time he made the agreement, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said in a release from his office.

Berndt was serving time in Gowanda for his sex-abuse conviction in Westchester County.


Guilty plea entered in pair of break-ins

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man faces a prison sentence and up to $18,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in a burglary case Thursday in Niagara County Court.

Joseph M. DiLaura III, 19, of Lindbergh Avenue, admitted to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree burglary to settle charges that he broke into two homes: one on Stephenson Avenue in the Falls between July 2 and 9, and one on Grauer Road in the Town of Niagara Jan. 10.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph A. Scalzo said he will recommend sentencing concurrent with the outcome of a burglary charge facing DiLaura in Amherst. But Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas made no promises; she could send DiLaura behind bars for as long as seven years when he returns to court July 12.

A co-defendant in the Grauer Road case, Christopher Seelbaugh, 17, of Niagara Falls, is scheduled for a guilty plea in County Court. Two co-defendants in the Stephenson Avenue case are facing misdemeanors in City Court.


Motorcyclist injured in head-on collision

WHEATFIELD -- A Niagara Falls motorcyclist suffered leg injuries Thursday afternoon in a head-on collision with a car on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield, state police reported.

Serge Perrier was northbound on the boulevard when he was struck.

The operator of the car, Alexis Mercer of Buffalo, was transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital after complaining of back pain.

Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to call state police at 297-0755 or 434-5588.


Lewiston man gets 60 days in crash blamed on DWI

A Lewiston man previously convicted of three alcohol-related incidents was sentenced Friday by Cheektowaga Town Justice Paul S. Piotrowski to spend up 60 days in jail after being convicted of driving while intoxicated after crashing into the car of a Cheektowaga firefighter.

William J. Flack, 35, of Meadowbrook Drive, was found guilty as charged. Authorities said he crashed into the car of Doyle Hose Company No. 1 firefighter Richard Nowak after running a stop sign at Colby and Parker streets last July 27.

Nowak was returning to the fire hall after a call. Neither driver was injured in the crash.

Piotrowski, who pointed to Flack's three previous alcohol-related car incidents in Niagara County in recent years, found him guilty of both driving while intoxicated and failure to stop at a stop sign.


Traffic stop results in drug charges for two

Two women are being held on drug and burglary charges after they were arrested by Erie County sheriff's deputies during a routine traffic stop on the Niagara Thruway near Whitehaven Road on Grand Island just before 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Melissa E. Miller, 22, of Buffalo, faces drug and false personation charges and was picked up on a Buffalo City Court arrest warrant in a burglary case.

The driver, Sara K. McGuire, 29, of Grand Island, is being held on drug and hypodermic instrument possession charges and traffic infractions.


Gunpoint robbery lands man in jail for a year

LOCKPORT -- State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. imposed a one-year Niagara County Jail term Thursday on a man who took part in a Niagara Falls gunpoint robbery.

Michael G. Kreps Jr., 19, of Linwood Avenue in the Falls, violated the rules of a one-year interim probation sentence. He had pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery in stealing $75 from a man at gunpoint on 61st Street in Niagara Falls on Dec. 11, 2010.


Drug treatment failure headed straight to prison

LOCKPORT -- A man who flunked out of court-supervised drug treatment was sentenced Wednesday to two to six years in prison and $2,000 restitution for a November 2010 theft of boxes of new cellphones from a Niagara Falls store.

Elbert Lewis Jr., 42, of Frontier Avenue, had pleaded guilty last year to third-degree burglary for the theft from the Universal Wireless store on Main Street.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas kicked him out of the judicial diversion program Feb. 10.

Assistant Public Defender Michael H. White said Lewis has been a drug addict for 27 years.