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Plea bargain in the works in child kidnapping

LOCKPORT – Attorneys met with Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas on Friday to try to hammer out a plea bargain for David J. Grover, charged with taking a 5-year-old girl from her North Tonawanda home July 28 and sexually abusing her.

Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said in court that Grover, 34, is being asked to plead guilty to the first count of the indictment, kidnapping as a sexually motivated felony.

Her colleague, Robert A. Zucco, said Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin is seeking a commitment to a sentence shorter than the 25-year maximum for that crime.

Bergevin confirmed that, but she wouldn’t say what number she has in mind.

Asked if Grover will take the offer, Bergevin said, “I can’t tell you.”

But Farkas ordered Grover to return to court Thursday to accept or reject the plea deal. If Grover says no, he is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 14.

The incident occurred 41 days after Grover’s parole expired on his sentence for taking a 4-year-old girl on a five-hour joyride through the Tonawandas on April 2, 2007. Grover knew that family and was let into the girl’s North Tonawanda home by the girl’s grandmother.

Grover pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree unlawful imprisonment in that case and served four years in prison. There were no sex charges in that incident.

In the latest case, Grover, who listed an address on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda, took the 5-year-old from her mother’s home on a Saturday morning and kept her for several hours.

The alleged sexual contact occurred at an outdoor location in Erie County, Zucco said after Grover’s Aug. 9 arraignment.

The girl’s parents are separated, and Grover tried to return the girl to her father’s home in the City of Tonawanda, but discovered the girl’s uncle was there.

Grover got into the house, barricaded himself in the bathroom and took a shower before Grover’s mother came to the scene and brought him out to be arrested. Grover is being held without bail in Niagara County Jail.