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Woman charged with killing ex over unpaid cable bill

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls woman, who allegedly confronted her former boyfriend over an unpaid cable TV bill and ended up stabbing him to death, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Chamia N. Johnson, 34, of Seventh Street, denied the charge of second-degree murder. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. ordered Johnson held without bail, pending a pretrial conference June 9 and a tentative trial date of Sept. 19.

Antoine Mallory, 39, was stabbed once in the chest in his home in the Monteagle Ridge Apartments in Niagara Falls on the night of Feb. 22. He was pronounced dead in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said Mallory fathered two of Johnson’s four children, and supposedly had agreed to pay Johnson’s cable bill.

“She went there to complain about the cable bill not being paid,” Hoffmann said. “His cable bill was paid, because in the crime scene photos, the TV is on.”

The alleged murder weapon, a folding knife Johnson brought with her, was thrown away after Johnson fled the scene, Hoffmann told Kloch. Johnson turned herself in to Falls police the next day.

Assistant Public Defender Michael E. Benedict said, “She wishes to profess her innocence and go to trial on this matter.”

He said Johnson’s only previous brush with the law was a disorderly conduct violation in 2005, but Kloch noted that the charge was reduced from criminal impersonation and also that a bench warrant was issued for Johnson in that case. That was one of the reasons Kloch cited for denying her bail.

In another homicide case from the Falls, a pre-indictment plea could be on tap in a Dec. 26 fatal stabbing.

William E. Swanson Jr., 22, of 38th Street, was charged by police with first-degree manslaughter in the death of Troy Haslip, 26, who was stabbed in the heart in a house on Ontario Avenue in the Falls. Defense attorney Robert Viola said Thursday that Swanson has been offered a chance to plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter, with a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years.

“We’re going to go through our options and report back to the court,” said Viola. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, who conferred with Hoffmann and Viola Thursday, scheduled another court date for April 26.

Hoffmann said Swanson and Haslip had “a domestic relationship,” but she didn’t know the motive for the stabbing.