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Falls man freed on bail after pleading guilty

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III freed a Niagara Falls man on bail Thursday after accepting his guilty plea to a drug charge that carries a mandatory state prison sentence.

Murphy accepted a defense request for a $5,000 bail figure for Eric H. James Sr., 47, of 21st Street. He was jailed without bail four months ago after being arrested in a police drug raid at his home, which occurred while James was under indictment on drug charges stemming from an earlier search of the home.

James pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge of attempted fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for having 2.47 ounces of oxycodone, among several other drugs seized in a Sept. 24 raid. James, a repeat felon because of a 2005 drug sales conviction, faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 10. He agreed to forfeit $1,745 seized in the September raid and $692 seized in the May raid.

Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. worked out the bail arrangement with Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh and persuaded Murphy to accept it.

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