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Falls man who shot three gets 16-year prison sentence

LOCKPORT – Rayquan M. Graham, who shot three people in the legs at a Niagara Falls gas station, was sentenced Friday to 16 years in state prison and six years of post-release supervision.

Graham, 21, of Elmwood Avenue, Niagara Falls, had pleaded guilty in November to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and to an unrelated count of attempted fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon gave him 15 years for the shootings and a year on the drug charge.

Graham shot a 50-year-old woman and her two sons, ages 19 and 21, on the afternoon of May 17 at the Valero station at 19th Street and Ferry Avenue in the Falls, climaxing a feud Graham had been having with the young men.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said in court, “There’s a way of thinking on the streets in Niagara Falls that they can shoot whoever they want, whenever they want.” She added that Graham didn’t seem to care who might be hurt or how many witnesses might be around. She said some of the witnesses had been intimidated by persons connected with Graham after the shooting.

Defense attorney Michael D’Amico said, “I don’t think he intended to hurt innocent people, in his mind, or random people.”

Graham told Sheldon, “It taught me a big lesson. I won’t be here again.”

The drug count involved Graham’s possession of a little more than half a gram of cocaine when Falls police found him in his car, stuck in a snowbank Feb. 5.

In another case Friday, a man who accepted a plea offer of a single felony to cover two June 30 store robberies in the Falls was sentenced by Sheldon to five years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision.

Jacob S. Ruhl, 24, of 24th Street, Niagara Falls, had admitted to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree robbery for the gunpoint holdups of a Family Video store at 2405 Pine Ave. and a 7-Eleven store at 2620 Niagara St.

Defense attorney Scott R. Stopa said Ruhl has a severe drug addiction. Ruhl said, “I never intended my life to turn out this way at age 24.”

Meanwhile, Sheldon sent Anthony P. Evrard, who pleaded guilty to three crimes, to the state prison system’s secure drug treatment facility, with a sentence of three to six years in a regular cell hanging over his head if he flops in the 90-day treatment program.

Evrard, 30, of Laur Road, Town of Niagara, had pleaded guilty last March to third-degree burglary, petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property for stealing an all-terrain vehicle and two furnaces.

Evrard is a drug addict, Catalano said, yet he was kicked out of the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment in October for allegedly burglarizing Stoelting Machine Co. of Wheatfield on Aug. 17.

An indictment in that case remains open, while Evrard owes $1,004 in restitution for the three earlier thefts.