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Lockport man accused of trying again to hire a hitman


LOCKPORT - Benito Lendof-Gonzalez, the Town of Lockport man already under indictment on charges of trying to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife, faces a new indictment accusing him of trying again, and also trying to arrange the kidnapping and murder of a Niagara County corrections officer.

Lendof-Gonzalez, 33, appeared in State Supreme Court Friday to plead not guilty to the newest indictment. He faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and attempted second-degree kidnapping, plus one count of criminal solicitation.

Lendof-Gonzalez, who has been in the County Jail since a domestic violence incident with his wife last April, was previously charged with using phones at the jail during May to try to find someone to kill the woman and her mother.

Second Assistant District Attorney Mary Jean Bowman said Lendof-Gonzalez is scheduled for trial March 27 on the earlier hitman-hiring charges, and she will attempt to have the newest counts included in that trial, too, since the alleged acts are similar.

In September, Sheriff James R. Voutour said Lendof-Gonzalez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic living in the U.S. on a green card, tried to arrange a plan that called for ambushing and killing the officer transporting him to court. An undercover police officer posing as a hitman met with Lendof-Gonzalez in the County Jail to gather evidence in the case.

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