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Judge refuses to throw out charge in murder case

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas on Friday denied a defense request to dismiss a weapons possession charge against Darius M. Belton, whose murder trial in connection with the shooting death of his uncle is to begin Wednesday.

Belton, 18, is charged with shooting Luis Ubiles, 37, on Sept. 25, as Belton stood on the front porch of his home on South Avenue in Niagara Falls. Defense attorney Angelo Musitano said a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon should be thrown out because the law says for possession to be a crime, the gun must not be in the defendant’s home or place of business.

Farkas said as far as she’s concerned, a porch is not part of a home and she will charge the jury accordingly.

Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said the prosecution believes if Belton is convicted, the gun sentence could be served consecutively with the murder sentence, making him face a maximum of 40 years to life in prison.