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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Man with lengthy record charged in theft from store

NIAGARA FALLS – A Niagara Avenue man with a lengthy criminal history avoided serious prison time last year when he helped prosecutors with a murder case and set up a program to try to scare students and young inmates away from a life of crime – but it appears he didn't learn from his own lessons.

Michael C. Stewart, 45, is back in jail. He was arraigned in City Court on Friday on felony charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree grand larceny, as well as misdemeanor charges of possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest. He was remanded without bail to Niagara County Jail.

City police responded to a burglary alarm that went off just after 1:30 a.m. Friday at Fashion King on Portage Road. After a short pursuit, Stewart was found behind the Niagara Towers apartments with articles of clothing piled up in the doorway. Police said a rear wall and a steel door at the business were heavily damaged in the break-in.

Stewart has been arrested more than 40 times in his nearly 30-year criminal history. He has 18 convictions, six of which are felonies.

In August 2010, Stewart was allowed to plead guilty to attempted third-degree burglary after breaking into a home on 20th Street on Feb. 22, 2009. He got a break because his testimony as a jailhouse informant helped prosecutors convict Robert E. Johnson of murdering his wife in 2009.

Stewart also set up an "Alternatives to Aggression" program in the County Jail.
Due to his lengthy criminal history, Stewart could have been sentenced to life in prison as a repeat felony offender when he was sentenced in 2010.

Instead, he was given consideration by Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas for his testimony and his work in the jail, and he received a sentence of 1 1/2 to three years in state prison.

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Two of three turn down 
plea offers in shooting case

LOCKPORT – Two of the three Niagara Falls men charged in the shooting of an 18-year-old man on a Falls street corner appeared in Niagara County Court on Monday and turned down plea offers, at least for the time being.

Marlyn M. Rubin, 20, of Niagara Street, and Paul E. Buck Jr., 23, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, both said no to offers to plead guilty to Class D felonies.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said the same offer has been extended to Jacob J. Taggart, 23, of Niagara Avenue, who is due in court today. All three are set for trial Dec. 17, and Hoffmann said anyone who pleads guilty before then will be required to testify against anyone who doesn't.

A bullet remains lodged in the chest of Anthony McDougald, 18, who was shot April 25 at 12th and Niagara streets. He testified at a preliminary hearing that he saw guns in the hands of Buck and Taggart but couldn't place a weapon in Rubin's hands. That led to Rubin's bail being set at $25,000, which Rubin made, while the others are locked up in lieu of $75,000 bail.

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Man charged with murder gets new defense attorney

LOCKPORT – Niagara Falls murder defendant Matthew A. Davis III received a new attorney Monday.

Michael S. Deal accepted a court assignment as co-counsel to Phillip Dabney Jr.
Deal replaces David C. Douglas, who left the defense team at Davis' request.

Davis, 37, is scheduled for trial Nov. 26 in Niagara County Court on charges that he asphyxiated Antoine M. Bradberry, 41, with a shirt in the victim's apartment on Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls on Aug. 22, 2011.

Two women – Teara D. Fatico, 22, and Chastity L. Wilson, 21, both of Niagara Falls – took plea deals and are prepared to testify that their job was to distract Bradberry while Davis entered the apartment and stole marijuana from the refrigerator.

The women each were sentenced to 13 years in prison.

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Judge gives repeat burglar 
prison term, supervision

LOCKPORT – Five years in state prison and $7,500 in restitution was the sentence Monday for a Niagara Falls man who burglarized the same Lewiston home on consecutive 
nights.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas also ordered three years of post-release supervision for Ulysses R. Jones, 23, of Hyde Park Boulevard.

Jones had pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree burglary for a break-in try Jan. 30 at a home on Mountain View Drive.

Jones and another man, Michael P. McCarthy, 18, of Dean Brown Road, Town of Niagara, also had broken into that home the night before.

McCarthy pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and was sent to a court-supervised drug treatment program.

Jones' sentence included punishment for a separate guilty plea to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He had 1.1 grams of cocaine when Niagara Falls police stopped his car Jan. 18, according to police at the time.