LOCKPORT - Jerome Wingfield of Niagara Falls, who set fire to his ex-girlfriend's apartment house, leaving some 40 people homeless, and shot a man whom he thought was having a relationship with the woman, was sentenced Monday to 14 years in state prison.
Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III tacked on five years of post-release supervision for Wingfield, 33, who pleaded guilty in January to reduced charges of second-degree assault and attempted second-degree burglary.
"Starting in November 2015, and going for about a month, you were a one-man crime wave," Murphy told Wingfield before giving him the maximum sentence available.
Five people were injured in the Jan. 1, 2016, fire at the Zodiac Apartments, 1967 Niagara St. in the Falls. Police said the fire was set after Wingfield broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment – she wasn't home at the time – and stole some clothing.
Under terms of the plea agreement, Wingfield didn't have to specifically admit to the arson, only the burglary. He denied Monday that he set the fire, but the indictment accused him of doing so, and no one else has been charged. The indictment also accused him of assaulting his ex-girlfriend a few weeks before the fire.
At about 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 2015, Wingfield shot Darius L. Washington, now 47, in the groin, abdomen and both legs in an alley in the 200 block of 22nd Street in the Falls.
Police said Washington was not involved with Wingfield's former girlfriend.
Wingfield is a repeat felon because of a 2007 conviction for selling drugs on or near school grounds in Cobb County, Ga. He said he moved to Niagara Falls in 2009.
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