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Niagara Falls man pleads not guilty in beer bottle assault

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man, whose attack on a store clerk with a beer bottle allegedly was captured on surveillance video, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in State Supreme Court.

Dairous J. Stephens, 27, of Eighth Street, was indicted on a charge of second-degree assault. Assistant District Attorney Kevin D. Canali said Stephens allegedly argued with a clerk July 24 at the Hometown Market on Pierce Avenue in the Falls, and threw a full glass bottle of beer at the man, striking him in the face. Canali said the clerk suffered a fractured nose and orbital bone.

Stephens previously was indicted on a charge of second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling more than a half-ounce of cocaine to a police informant Sept. 11 in the Falls. Wednesday, he rejected a combination plea offer for both cases that would have left him facing up to 12 years in prison. The drug case is scheduled for trial April 4.