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Convictions for kidnapping, attempted kidnapping of women send Buffalo man to prison

Facing up to 25 years in prison on felony convictions for kidnapping and attempted kidnapping, Hakim Owens asked the judge at his sentencing Wednesday to keep in mind that “I did not kill, shoot, rape or beat anyone.”

Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case acknowledged “the positives” – Owens’ volunteer activity, his participation in AmeriCorps and that he had assisted the District Attorney’s Office on a previous case – before sentencing Owens to a term of 12 years on the kidnapping conviction and nine years for the attempted kidnapping, to run concurrently.

Case pointed out that Owens, 23, of Walden Avenue, was still on probation for a 2013 assault conviction when he was arrested for another assault in 2014. And that case was pending when, on Oct. 16, Owens and his co-defendant, Paul Manning Jr., 19, of Cornwall Avenue, accosted two women in separate incidents on Buffalo’s East Side.

According to testimony at their trial, the men jumped from an sport utility vehicle they were using and, claiming they were “FBI,” tried to abduct the women “for questioning.” Owens and Manning fled from their first attempt to get a woman into their vehicle when her friends came to the woman’s aid, but a few minutes later, the pair grabbed another woman, handcuffed her and pulled her into the back seat of the SUV. Police caught up with them a short time later when they were driving around.

Neither defendant testified during their trial in June, but, through their attorneys, they have said they were just goofing around and did not plan to hurt anyone.

“As to my client’s position that this was a joke, I certainly don’t think it was a funny joke,” Owens’ attorney, Paul M. Michalek, said Wednesday. “But I also know they had no further bad intentions.”

Manning was sentenced in July to 10 years on the kidnapping conviction and seven years for the attempted kidnapping.

Owens’ sentencing was separate because he also had to resolve his second assault conviction. It was delayed once more because he sustained a broken jaw in an altercation in the Erie County Holding Center. With his mouth wired shut, he asked that sentencing be put off until he could speak on his own behalf in court. On Wednesday, he described the “terrible abuse” he had experienced in the jail and added, “It almost cost me my life.”

Manning’s attorney, James DeMatteo, and Michalek have both contended that their clients are guilty only of misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment and say they plan to appeal the jury’s verdict.