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Attacker given maximum sentence for beating Channel 4 news crew

Evan Stafford, who assaulted a WIVB-TV reporter and cameraman in Niagara Falls Oct. 22, was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison.

It was the most Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III could have imposed for attempted second-degree robbery. Murphy added three years of post-release supervision.

Stafford, 26, of Donna Drive, Town of Niagara, tried to steal a camera as reporter Nick Quattrini and cameraman Melvin Barinas were preparing a live report from an alley where local artists had painted murals on walls.

Barinas has not returned to work because of vision problems. Prosecutor Doreen M. Hoffmann said Barinas suffered a fractured orbital bone, a concussion and a 15-stitch cut inside his mouth.

Defense attorney Thomas J. Eoannou said he will appeal the sentence. He said Stafford was a first-time offender who was so drunk he couldn't remember the crime. Murphy said he found he found the memory lapse "suspicious."

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