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Man pleads guilty to assault, tampering; may get 40 years

A 29-year-old Buffalo man pleaded guilty Friday to assault, burglary and witness tampering charges that could put him in prison for 40 years.

Lincoln Ablack admitted that he and an accomplice, James Blair, broke into a West Utica Street home in June 2011 and stole household items and a car, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

After police arrested the pair, Ablack and Blair returned to the home and seriously injured Colleen Murray, 52, only hours before she was to testify against the two for breaking into her home the previous month.

The two attacked her to prevent her from testifying, according to prosecutors Michael P. Felicetta and John Feroleto.

A jury earlier last month convicted Blair, 21, of first-degree burglary and first-degree attempted murder for stabbing Murray. Blair faces life in prison when he is sentenced on July 18.

"This office will not tolerate witness intimidation and cowardly miscreants who engage in such reprehensible conduct, like Mr. Blair and Mr. Ablack," said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

Ablack faces a maximum sentence of 40 years when State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang sentences him on Aug. 2.

Ablack also pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in an unrelated incident in April 2011, when he stole an iPod and cash from a man on Pearl and Allen streets.

email: plakamp@buffnews.com