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Jury acquits Niagara Falls man in road-rage assault case

LOCKPORT – A Niagara County Court jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Friday before acquitting a Niagara Falls man of all charges in what police said was a road-rage assault case.

Jurors said they thought Calvin Allen Jr., 39, of Sixth Street, had not been properly identified as the attacker who confronted three brothers in an alley between Third and Fourth streets in Niagara Falls on Dec. 23, after a near-accident on Niagara Street near Sixth Street. One was hit in the head with a wooden dowel about the size of a baseball bat; another was stabbed in the buttocks; and an attempt was made to stab a third in the stomach.

Assistant Public Defender Charles F. Pitarresi argued that the victims gave a description that didn’t match Allen, a stocky 5-foot, 7-inch dark-skinned African-American man. The victims said the attacker was a thin, light-skinned man, perhaps of mixed race, and as tall as 5-foot-11.

The assailant allegedly was driving a sport utility vehicle registered to Allen’s girlfriend, but right after the incident, police found only one of four witnesses was able to choose Allen’s photo from a group of six photos as the attacker.

On the witness stand this week, all three brothers pointed to Allen as the attacker. Pitarresi argued the belated identifications were not credible and said there were no fingerprints or DNA evidence implicating Allen, who testified that at the time of the incident, he was working in a barbershop at Pine Avenue and 16th Street.

Assistant District Attorneys Kevin D. Canali and Claudette S. Caldwell were the prosecutors in the weeklong trial before County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III. Allen had been charged with two counts each of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and one count of attempted second-degree assault.