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7-Eleven robbery suspect loses plea deal in wrangle with lawyer

LOCKPORT – A plea deal for Paul J. Schubert, the Niagara Falls man accused of a string of armed robberies at 7-Elevens and other stores this fall, was aborted by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas Wednesday after Schubert accused his court-appointed attorney of not doing his best, an accusation decried by the judge.

When Farkas asked Schubert whether anyone had coerced him into pleading guilty, he said no, but the judge remarked that Schubert’s “body language” told her otherwise. Schubert then charged that attorney David J. Mansour had told him he wasn’t being paid enough to get him a better plea deal.

Mansour had lined up a deal limiting Schubert’s prison time to a maximum of 12 and a third to 17 years: 10 years for two robbery counts and two and one-third to seven years for a burglary to which he had previously pleaded guilty. He was assigned in June to a court-supervised drug treatment program in the burglary case, but was booted from the program in September after his arrest in the robbery cases.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said she believes Schubert, 21, of Townsend Place, committed four robberies in Niagara Falls, one in Wheatfield and perhaps a sixth in North Tonawanda. If indicted and convicted of each holdup, he could be sentenced to as long as 25 years per robbery.

“I’m not going to force this young man to do anything he doesn’t want to do,” Farkas said. “I would bet my life Mr. Mansour never said he wasn’t being paid enough.”