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Murder suspect arraigned in Falls barroom shooting

LOCKPORT – Algernon R. Dix, whom Niagara Falls police said sprayed gunfire around a Highland Avenue barroom March 7, killing a man, pleaded not guilty Monday in Niagara County Court.

Dix, 34, of 16th Street in the Falls, was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III ordered him held without bail pending a pretrial conference June 1 and a tentative trial date of Sept. 14.

Franchot B. Wallace, 29, of Whitney Avenue in the Falls, was gunned down inside the crowded 3M Club, 2716 Highland Ave., about 2:30 a.m. March 7. Police reported that Wallace was shot twice in the back and died a short time later in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

At the time of his death, Wallace was under indictment on cocaine possession charges.

District Attorney Michael B. Violante, who seldom appears in court, handled the arraignment. Murphy granted Violante’s request for bail to be denied.

Defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman was more concerned about obtaining information about the evidence. Violante noted that there was a witness identification of Dix from a photo array. Greenman asked to be given a copy of the array and the notes police might have taken regarding witnesses’ physical descriptions of the shooter.

Violante said, “We’ll give him the information we think he’s entitled to.” Greenman was given 45 days to make motions for evidence to be turned over.

Police arrested Dix in his home two days after the shooting, following an appeal to the public for help in the case.

After Wallace’s death, there were demands in the Niagara Falls community for the 3M Club to be shut down. This was at least the third homicide in the club since 1989.

The club’s liquor license was canceled by the State Liquor Authority in 2009, and the club now is used only for private functions, such as the one at which Wallace was killed.