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Judge shows leniency, but sends Niagara Falls man to prison for 3 years

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said she came to court Wednesday prepared to sentence Dyrek E. Hall to five years in prison for gun possession. But she listened to defense attorney Robert Viola and imposed a three-year sentence instead.

Hall, 20, of 21st Street, Niagara Falls, had pleaded guilty to throwing a loaded gun away as Falls police were chasing him Oct. 7, 2015. It was one of three gun-related incidents for which he was indicted, although he only admitted to the gun charge, as Viola reminded Sheldon.

Hall won’t be prosecuted on the other charges as part of his plea to attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

“Mr. Viola’s remarks have softened the sentence, in my opinion significantly,” Sheldon said.

He had been accused of being an accessory to the Sept. 26, 2015, shooting of DeMario A. Chandler, 28, on 19th Street in the Falls. Viola said Hall and Chandler were having a fistfight when Chandler was shot, and the attorney insisted that Hall had no knowledge of the shooter’s plans. Anthony L. Riley, 25, of Welch Avenue, is charged with shooting Chandler that day and again on March 11, not fatally.

Hall also was accused of shooting at another man Oct. 5, 2015. Viola said the victim refused to testify; Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said the man recanted his story.

Viola also told the judge that Hall had no father figure in his life growing up but has loyal support from his mother. “There’s no question he’s always where he shouldn’t be,” Viola conceded.

The defense attorney asked for an interim probation sentence for Hall, but Sheldon refused.

“What is lost if I follow your recommendation is general deterrence,” the judge said. “That’s a big deal. There’s too many guns on the street.”

Hall has been in jail for a year, which counts toward his sentence.

Four months ago, a jury acquitted Hall on charges of firing about 20 rounds at the Center Court housing project in the Falls in June 2015. Some of the rounds penetrated a residence wall, narrowly missing the occupant, while other gunfire struck the car of a woman delivering food; she was not hurt.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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