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Buffalo teen admits guilt in robberies of two deliverymen, two cab drivers

A Buffalo teenager on Monday admitted his role in robbing two fast food deliverymen and two cab drivers on the East Side, and a friend admitted helping him rob one of the cabbies.

Dequan Bailey, 18, of Hewitt Avenue, pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree robbery and one count of first-degree robbery, while Rokym Knox, 20, of Emslie Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery.

A co-defendant, Sean Austin, went to trial in February and was convicted by a jury in the four holdups, plus two later robberies of cabbies, including one that ended in the shotgun slaying of a popular Buffalo taxi driver.

Another defendant, Maurice Howie, a former star quarterback at South Park High School, also was convicted at last month’s trial in those two later robberies.

In addition, both Austin, 17, of Emslie Street, and Howie, 18, of Hamburg Street, were convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Mazen M. Abdallah, 55, a driver for Airport Taxi Service who was found March 6, 2013, in a pool of blood in the back seat of his cab.

Austin and Howie will be sentenced May 14 by State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia. Neither Bailey nor Knox were charged in connection with the murder.

Bailey and Knox had faced a separate trial on the four earlier holdups but pleaded guilty before Buscaglia who set sentencing for May 16.

Bailey admitted that on Dec. 2, 2012, he and Austin robbed a pizza deliveryman and later that day held up a Buffalo cab driver at gunpoint. Both holdups occurred on Emslie.

Bailey also admitted that the next day, he and Knox, along with Austin and Devante Wells, robbed another Buffalo cabbie at gunpoint at Seymour and Bond streets.

And Bailey admitted helping Austin in the gunpoint holdup of a deliveryman for a Chinese restaurant on Feb. 1, 2013 on North Division Street.

Knox admitted participating in the Dec. 3, 2012, taxi driver holdup.

Bailey faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for second-degree robbery and an additional 25 years for first-degree robbery.

The judge indicated he would sentence Bailey to a total of up to 10 years on all the counts or less than that if he grants Bailey’s request to be sentenced as a youthful offender.

Knox faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, but the judge indicated he would sentence him to up to five years.

The judge ordered Bailey, who has been held without bail, returned to the Erie County Holding Center. He ordered Knox, who had been free on $20,000 bail, sent to the Holding Center without bail.

Wells, 18, of Bickford Avenue, pleaded guilty last summer to second-degree robbery and will be sentenced May 14 by Buscaglia.