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Tape of meeting between Niagara County inmate and would-be hitman ruled inadmissible

Niagara County Jail inmate Benito Lendof-Gonzalez allegedly wanted his estranged wife dead. Now, a judge has ruled a recording of a meeting at the jail between Lendof-Gonzalez and the man he thought would kill her as too inaudible to be used at the inmate's July 17 trial.

State Supreme Court Justice John Michalski, however, will allow the use of tapes of three phone calls from Lendof-Gonzalez to outsiders, including the would-be hitman.

The man Lendof-Gonzalez talked to at the jailhouse meeting was a former inmate who had become an informant for the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, and the informant had a small digital recorder hidden in his pocket during their May 19, 2016, meeting to talk about the plan.

The recording was played during an earlier State Supreme Court hearing.

Benito Lendof-Gonzalez

The tape indicated that Lendof-Gonzalez wanted the informant, so far referred to only as JG001, to poison his wife after she made a statement exonerating Lendof-Gonzalez on domestic violence charges. It was supposed to look like a suicide, specified Lendof-Gonzalez, 34, according to the recording.

Lendof-Gonzalez, a Town of Lockport resident, faces two other indictments, on the domestic incident and an alleged effort to arrange his escape by killing a corrections officer transporting him to court. Those will be tried separately, attorneys in the case said Tuesday.

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