Share this article

print logo


7 felony counts lodged 
against man in break-ins

NIAGARA FALLS – A Niagara Falls man was charged Wednesday in two burglaries late last week, authorities said.

Ronald C. Swanson, 18, of Osborne Court, faces seven felony counts, including two counts each of third-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny; single counts of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree burglary and criminal possession of stolen property; and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

He is accused of break-ins Sept. 20 at the Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Center on 16th Street and last Friday at a lower-floor apartment in a building on Osborne Court.


Lackawanna man arraigned 
in alleged sale of painkiller

LOCKPORT – Patrick J. Murtha, 37, of Ridge Road, Lackawanna, was arraigned Thursday in Niagara County Court on charges of selling the painkiller oxycodone in Cambria on June 10 and 11.

Murtha pleaded not guilty to two counts each of third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, and one count of fourth-degree possession.


Lockport woman given
 year in jail for stabbing

LOCKPORT – Joyce A. Schwarz, 38, of East Avenue, Lockport, was sentenced Thursday to a year in Niagara County Jail for stabbing her live-in boyfriend in the back and left bicep June 24.

County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas imposed the penalty on Schwarz who had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree assault. "I got out of that relationship. I don't want any part of it no more," Schwarz said of her four years with Jeffrey Laubacker, 35.

Assistant Public Defender Michael E. Benedict said it was a relationship of mutual physical and mental abuse.


Lockport man gets prison 
for molesting 3-year-old

LOCKPORT – An Independence Drive man was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for molesting a 3-year-old girl March 22.

"I wish I could give you 10 times what I'm going to give you, because so vile, so despicable is what you did," State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. told Robert J. Sawmiller, 39, who drew the maximum sentence for his guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree sexual abuse.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said the plea was offered because it was impossible to elicit the necessary testimony from a 3-year-old to support a higher charge.

Sawmiller will be on 10 years of parole-like supervision after his release from prison.


Not-guilty plea entered 
in assault on woman

LOCKPORT – Robert E. Spencer, 27, of Branch Street, Lockport, arrested July 13 on charges of assaulting one of the two women with whom he has had a child, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court.

Spencer was indicted on charges of aggravated criminal contempt, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault, Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said.

Spencer and the alleged victim have a 3-year-old together. County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said both women who had Spencer's children now have restraining orders against him. He was released on his own recognizance pending further court action.


Man stabbed to death 
in burglary bid identified

JAMESTOWN – A suspected burglar stabbed to death by the owner of the home he allegedly broke into Wednesday was identified Thursday by Jamestown police as Henry L. Smith, 26, of Warren, Pa.

Around midday Wednesday, the Barker Street resident returned home to find two burglars inside his house, according to police.

The homeowner got involved in an altercation with the men and stabbed them both.

Smith was found dead in a yard near the burglary scene.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Thursday by the Erie County medical examiner.

The second man was being treated at a hospital in Erie, Pa., for his injuries.

His name has not been released. Authorities said no charges have been filed at this point, and the incident remained under investigation.


Shooting on High Street 
seriously injures victim

A man was shot four times on High Street, leaving him seriously wounded, police officials reported Thursday.

The shooting occurred at about midnight in the 500 block of High Street, near the Kensington Expressway.

The victim, a man who turned 48 Wednesday, was shot four times in the abdomen.

He was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition today.

No other details were available.