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Knifing suspect jailed over alleged death threats to victim

By Thomas J. Prohaska


LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend in the chest was jailed at her arraignment Thursday after a prosecutor accused her of phoning death threats to the victim.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III hiked bail from $5,000 to $75,000 for Rhonda Rose-Clayton, 37, of Walnut Avenue. She pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree witness tampering.

Rose-Clayton allegedly stabbed the man in the chest with a steak knife in her apartment June 21, causing a punctured lung, Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said.

She admitted there had been past incidents in which the man was the aggressor, but Baehre said that on June 21, Rose-Clayton told police that the victim fell on the steak knife “because she and her daughter eat steak every day, so of course there would be steak knives all over the house.”

She told Murphy that she has tapes of Rose-Clayton phoning the victim and urging him not to cooperate with police, and as recently as Tuesday, Rose-Clayton allegedly called him and threatened “to blow his head off.” There was another death threat against the man and his mother in an earlier call, Baehre charged. The prosecutor said she received a call from the victim on her way to work Thursday, reporting another call from Rose-Clayton an hour before court opened.

“I’m never going to see my kids again,” wailed Rose-Clayton, a mother of two, after Murphy announced the bail. “I’m not a threat to (the victim). … He knows how to manipulate the system.”

Assistant Public Defender Charles F. Pitarresi denied Rose-Clayton made the calls. “Someone called from a blocked phone. I don’t know that it’s the defendant,” Pitarresi said.

“She has a history of abusing men,” said Baehre, who asked Murphy to hold Rose-Clayton without bail. The prosecutor said Rose-Clayton slashed her then 11-year-old son in the leg in 2003, and she said there were accounts of Rose-Clayton stabbing another man, who didn’t file a police report.