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POLICE & COURTS

Friend charged in stabbing of 29-year-old Amity man

AMITY – A 29-year-old man was found stabbed to death on a rural road early Friday, and a suspect in his slaying turned himself in to state troopers, state police said.

Police were alerted to a man stabbed on Tuckers Corner Road in the Town of Amity at about 12:30 a.m. Friday.

They found Jason S. Cipriano, 29, who lived nearby on Tuckers Road, lying "unresponsive" on the shoulder of the road, according to a statement from police. He was soon pronounced dead by the Allegany County coroner.

Investigators quickly learned that Cipriano had gotten into an argument with a friend – identified as Jason E. Mehmel, 33, of Angelica – that turned physical.
Mehmel allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Cipriano in the chest.

Police said Mehmel then fled on foot from the crime scene and, within an hour, walked into the State Police barracks in Amity to turn himself in.

After police consulted with Allegany County District Attorney Keith Slep, Mehmel was charged with second-degree murder as well as a misdemeanor charge of weapons possession.

He was arraigned in the Town of Friendship Court and was remanded to the Allegany County Jail without bail.

The case was handed by state troopers based in Amity; the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Troop A Forensics Investigations Unit; Alfred police; Cuba police; University of Alfred police; Wellsville police; and the Amity rescue squad.

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Prison officials place 
Wende under lockdown

The state's maximum security Wende Correctional Facility in Alden was placed on lockdown at 7 a.m. Friday so that the 884 inmates of the facility could be frisked. The process could take up to 72 hours, according to Peter K. Cutler, spokesman for the state prison system

Within the past week, security staff at the Alden facility confiscated some weapons and other illegal contraband from inmates that prompted the facility's executive staff, in consultation with officials in Albany, to stage the lockdown, Cutler said.

During the lockdown, recreation programs are suspended and inmates eat their meals in their cells, but visitation and sick calls are not suspended, Cutler said.
The whole process is done to ensure the safety and security of everyone in the facility, both inmates and staff, and any inmate caught 
with illegal contraband will face disciplinary charges and sanctions, Cutler said.

Mark David Chapman, the convicted killer of Beatle John Lennon, is among the inmates in the facility.

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Man arraigned on charges
 of assault, burglary, robbery

A 32-year-old man was arraigned Friday on charges that he robbed and beat two victims, including an 80-year-old woman, in separate incidents last December.

Tige Billingsley, who has no known address, faces up to 75 years in prison if he is convicted, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

He appeared before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.

Prosecutors said Billingsley and a co-defendant stole a wallet from a 65-year-old man on William Street and beat him with a gun Dec. 6.

Ten days later, Billingsley and a co-defendant robbed an 80-year-old woman of her purse and her car, prosecutors said. Billingsley allegedly burglarized her home, restrained the victim with duct tape and beat her with a gun, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Billingsley faces charges of second-degree assault, first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree robbery.

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Niagara County police
 charge two with felony DWI

LOCKPORT – City police and the Niagara County sheriff's deputies reported two recent cases of driving while intoxicated that became felonies, due to previous DWI 
convictions.

Deputies reported they stopped Jason R. Mucha, 42, of Old Beattie Road, as he pulled into his driveway just before 8 p.m. Sunday. Mucha was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, felony DWI, driving without a seat belt and speeding.

Mucha told deputies that he had five beers at a friend's house. He was found with a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, twice the legal limit, and a computer check found that he had a previous conviction in 2007, according to a sheriff's report.

City police stopped James L. Mericle, 45, of North Transit Road, near his home just after 10 p.m. Sunday. Mericle was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, refusal to take a screening test, felony DWI and failure to signal.

Police responded to a call about an intoxicated driver and stopped Mericle when he failed to signal a turn. Mericle has a previous conviction in Florida in 2006, and his Florida license was revoked due to his conviction, police said.