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Assault victim Casal is released from ECMC

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Niagara Falls boxer and junior welterweight contender Nick Casal, who was beaten unconscious Saturday night, was released from Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, on Monday night with hundreds of staples and stitches in his head.

Town police are "negotiating" with relatives to bring a person of interest in the case into the police station for questioning, Police Chief H. James Suitor said Tuesday.

Casal was ambushed and severely beaten with some type of a metal weapon at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday in the Belden Center area of the town when he stopped to pick up his new girlfriend. Suitor said witnesses are unclear on the type of metal weapon, which he said has been described as a golf club, or a rake, among other things.

"We honestly don't know," Suitor said of the weapon. "The witnesses were unable to assist us with describing this."

Casal's assailant is 6 1/2 feet tall and about 300 pounds, had apparently waited in a garage for the 145-pound Casal and administered a sneak attack, according to Casal's father, Ray. He said his son didn't know he was picking up his girlfriend at her former boyfriend's house.

"The guy had some serious injuries," Suitor said. "I am surprised it wasn't more serious."


Falls man, 43, convicted on sexual assault charges

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who molested a 12-year-old girl between June and August 2011 could spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty Monday of predatory sexual assault in a jury trial in Niagara County Court.

Parish M. Streeter, 43, of 21st Street, was found guilty on all six counts in the indictment: second-degree sexual abuse, two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, second-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree attempted coercion and second-degree criminal contempt. The jury deliberated for nearly six hours, until nearly 10 p.m. Monday.

The coercion and contempt charges arose Sept. 19, when Streeter sent a letter from jail to the girl's mother, "attempting to influence the outcome of the case," Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said.

Streeter, who was indicted last November and was released on $75,000 bail, was ordered held without bail by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas until his sentencing Aug. 7.


Two drug cases have different outcomes

LOCKPORT -- Two men who both appeared in separate Niagara County Court cases, but on similar charges, faced different outcomes before Judge Matthew J. Murphy III on Tuesday.

Brandon J. Culverwell, 27, of Dorwood Park, Wilson, who pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance on March 13, was sentenced to a year in state prison and one year post-release supervision.

Culverwell's charges were reduced from third-degree sale and possession, after he sold Oxycodone Aug. 1 and morphine Aug. 9 in February. Murphy said Culverwell has been arrested 10 times since March 2007 and been granted probation four times in that time period.

"You've had enough chances," Murphy said during the sentencing.

Meanwhile, Ivan Brinson, 20, of Ferry Avenue in Niagara Falls, who had previously been granted judicial diversion on charges of fifth-degree criminal possession, was sentenced for violating the program.

Brinson had sold cocaine to a police informant Dec. 17, 2010, in the Falls. Murphy sentenced him to five months in Niagara County Jail, which he said would be about three months with time served.

"There's the likelihood that the next time you will go to state prison. I hope you have learned your lesson," Murphy said.


Man seriously injured in jump from moving car

WHEATFIELD -- A North Tonawanda man was seriously injured early Tuesday when he jumped out of a moving car while fighting with the driver, state police said.

The two men, both in their 20s, were driving on River Road, near Sunset Drive, at about 2 a.m. when the passenger jumped out of the vehicle, which was traveling at about 50 mph, Trooper Keith Lucas said.

The passenger was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, Lucas said.

The driver was expected to be charged with driving while intoxicated.

Names of the men were not released Tuesday.


Driver charged in hit-run killing boy waives hearing

The Lancaster man accused of driving drunk in a May 3 hit-and-run crash that killed a 14-year-old bicyclist waived his right to a felony hearing Tuesday in Lancaster Town Court.

The case against Michael C. Ettipio, 23, next would be sent to an Erie County grand jury, which would decide whether to indict him in the death of Bryce W. Buchholz, a Lancaster Middle School student from Elma.

Police charged Ettipio with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while intoxicated and failure to keep right.