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Kitchen stove fire leads to felony drug plea

LOCKPORT - Jaron T. Thompson fell asleep while babysitting at a City of Lockport home Dec. 4, starting a chain of events that began with a small fire and ended Tuesday with his guilty plea to a drug possession felony.

Thompson, 27, of Genesee Street, Lockport, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for having .14 ounces of cocaine.

Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said Thompson was cooking some food on the stove at 137 Chestnut St. when he nodded off. A fire erupted on the stove, and city firefighters and police rushed to the scene. Thompson was arrested on a charge of child endangerment after an investigation.

When authorities searched him at Police Headquarters, they found cocaine in his pocket, Wydysh said.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III put Thompson in a judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment. If he succeeds in beating his drug problem during the two-year program, Thompson's felony plea will be reduced to a misdemeanor with a nonjail sentence. But if he washes out of the program, Thompson risks up to 5 1/2 years in state prison.

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