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2 women sentenced in hate crime

Two women from Niagara Falls were sentenced to weekend jail terms Friday for their hate crime assault on a Pakistani woman last summer.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas ordered Sheree A. Sabater, 39, to four months of weekends in the County Jail and three years' probation. Antoinette S. Ivey, 32, drew two months of weekends in jail and five years' probation.

The 26-year-old Muslim victim, who was walking with her two children July 14 near the Tops Market on Portage Road in Niagara Falls, was wearing a head scarf at the time, police said.

"This woman and her two children were just minding their own business," Farkas said. "These two drunk, high, out-of-control women, and I use that term loosely, pummeled her to the ground in front of her children."

The victim said in a later Buffalo News interview that she heard one of the attackers say, "She's Pakistani and I want to kill her."

The nationality was just a lucky guess, Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said.

"I didn't know who she was," Ivey said in court.

Sabater said, "I feel foolish."

The two African-American women, both of Ninth Street, were charged with felony assault as a hate crime.

Ivey pleaded guilty to that, while Sabater got a plea deal to child endangerment, a misdemeanor, by agreeing to testify against Ivey.

Farkas, however, gave Sabater more jail time. "I know who the problem is. I know it's Ms. Sabater," the judge said.

Farkas didn't order longer jail terms because both defendants have young children of their own to take care of. They will begin their incarceration next weekend.

Nichols read a letter from the victim, who said she has post-concussion headaches and a persistent back injury as a result of the beating she took.

"They need to learn they can't do this to another, regardless of their race or culture," the woman wrote.

"I'm very ashamed of my actions," Ivey sobbed. "I've never been racist That's not my character. I've never hurt anyone."

Ivey's attorney, James J. Faso Jr., said Sabater recently was arrested in connection with another alleged street fight.