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Buffalo man pleads guilty in fatal beating

One of two Buffalo men accused in the fatal beating of a man on a residential street on a cold night last March pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on Thursday.

Derrick N. Kocol, 27, of Gatchell Avenue admitted before acting State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia that he was one of the men who attacked 64-year-old Patrick Dennis on March 18 as Dennis was walking home. Dennis’ body was found outside near 117 Peck St. and investigators believe he was the victim of a robbery. Kocol and the other man charged in the case, George Mowers II, 21, of Gold Street, reportedly were traced through DNA from the victim’s pockets. Kocol was arrested July 7 and Mowers was apprehended Aug. 27.

Both were charged with murder in the commission of a felony, robbery and first-degree manslaughter. The judge dismissed the murder and robbery charges when accepting Kocol’s guilty plea to manslaughter.

As a second felony offender, Kocol faces from eight to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 21.

Mowers’ case has been handled separately from Kocol’s. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.