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Falls man gets 5 years in prison for assault as drive-by shooting indictment is dismissed

LOCKPORT – Donald Rodgers was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for beating a man whom he caught with Rodgers’ girlfriend, but an indictment accusing him of being the driver in a Niagara Falls drive-by shooting last year was dismissed.

The drive-by case was tried earlier, but a hung jury was declared April 3. The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office had declared its intention to retry Rodgers on May 11, but dropped the charges after County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed his sentence in the assault case against Rodgers. That sentence included three years of post-release supervision.

Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin said Rodgers ended up with the same sentence he would have received had he accepted a plea offer before the trial. However, that would have required him to plead guilty to a second felony for the drive-by shooting; now, Rodgers has only one felony conviction.

That was for second-degree assault in a Sept. 11, 2013, attack on Jeffrey Crockett. Rodgers allegedly shot Crockett in the arm five weeks later, Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said, but Bergevin reminded Murphy that Rodgers never admitted to the shooting and only pleaded guilty “to walking in on his longtime girlfriend with another man, and assaulting that other man.”