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No plea offered in Lockport shooting case

LOCKPORT – Josiah J. Chandler, a Lockport man charged with shooting another man in the back last fall, will go to trial June 29 with no plea bargain being offered by the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann made that statement in County Court Friday. It was no surprise to defense attorney Robert Viola. “They were indicating from the get-go this was a case that could not be settled,” Viola said. “We’ll let a cross-section of the community decide. That’s what trials are for.”

Chandler, 19, of Genesee Street, is charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the Nov. 26 shooting of Colton Baker-Durst, 20, who was apparently running away when he was shot several times near the corner of Church and Green streets. The victim remains hospitalized, Hoffmann said.

The evidence is expected to include a confession that County Judge Sara Sheldon ruled admissible, as well as an eyewitness account. Chandler, who is black, originally was charged with a hate crime in the shooting of the white victim, but Hoffmann decided not to include that in the indictment she sought from the grand jury because it would not add anything to Chandler’s potential 40-year prison sentence if he is convicted.