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Man gets up to 33 years in prison in fatal stabbing of ex's new boyfriend

A Buffalo man who broke into his ex-girlfriend's home and fatally stabbed her boyfriend was sentenced Friday to an indeterminate sentence of 27 2/3 to 33 years in prison, according to the Erie County District Attorney's office.

In January, a jury convicted Hillard Smith, 47, on several counts in connection with that crime, including one count of first-degree manslaughter, one count of first degree burglary, one count of third degree assault and two counts of second degree menacing. Smith also was convicted of two counts of third degree criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of criminal contempt in the first degree.

On April 12, 2017, Smith broke into his former girlfriend’s North Division Street apartment and attacked her boyfriend, 42-year-old Justin Johnson of Buffalo, with a knife. Johnson was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he died of his injuries five days later.


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