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Lockport robber drops DNA challenge, takes plea deal

LOCKPORT – A man who robbed a Lockport gas station at knifepoint Jan. 10 accepted a plea deal Wednesday rather than continue a legal challenge to new DNA analysis software that connected him to the case.

David P. Smith, 41, was homeless at the time of the crime, but he’s been in jail for 11 months. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree robbery, and Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon agreed to sentence him to five years in prison, the minimum for a second-time violent felon, plus five years of post-release supervision and about two years of prison time owed as a parole violator from Smith’s 2007 burglary conviction. The sentence is to be officially imposed Jan. 20.

Sheldon said that under the deal, Smith must come clean to police about his role in three or four other Lockport holdups, but he will not be asked to incriminate anyone else who may have taken part, and will not be prosecuted in any of those cases.

A new DNA testing technique found Smith’s DNA on clothing discarded in a garbage can near the former Sunoco station at South Transit and High streets in Lockport, and a jailhouse informant said in a pretrial hearing that Smith told him that was his clothing, dumped after the robbery.