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Lockport water chief may enter plea next week

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he wants more information before he will allow City of Lockport water distribution chief Dale W. Lawson to accept a pre-indictment plea offer.

On Monday, Murphy put off action on the case until May 31. Lawson, 53, of Grosvenor Street, was charged with arson after he allegedly poured gasoline on his back porch and set it on fire April 18 during an argument with his wife. He reportedly was intoxicated at the time. There were no injuries and damage was relatively minor.

Lawson’s attorney, Michael H. White Jr., said after a City Court appearance April 25 that he would like to see Lawson admitted to a treatment court, either mental health court or drug court, but either option would require him to plead guilty to a felony.

Lawson is on unpaid leave from his $54,530-a-year city job, after a mandatory 30-day paid leave ordered by Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey expired Friday.