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Buffalo woman pleads innocent in murder of Cheektowaga businessman

A Buffalo woman pleaded not guilty Friday when she was arraigned in State Supreme Court on a murder charge in connection with the death of a Cheektowaga businessman in November.

Debra Haynes-Thomas, 47, of Cazenovia Street is accused of attacking Peter Wiepert, 56, while he was asleep in his home on Princess Drive. Wiepert was found beaten to death on Nov. 14.

Prosecutors say Haynes-Thomas used “a household item” to kill Wiepert, with whom it is believed she had a romantic relationship.

Haynes-Thomas later was found at a hotel near Rochester and briefly hospitalized after Monroe County sheriff’s deputies received a call of a woman trying to harm herself. She was then placed under arrest and remains in custody.