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Manslaughter plea entered in 2016 fatal stabbing in Kenfield housing complex

A Buffalo man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree in the stabbing death of an acquaintance a year and a half ago.

William Hemphill Jr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a 2016 fatal stabbing.

William Hemphill Jr., 32, has been jailed since Sept. 2, 2016, the same day paramedics discovered the body of Paul Held, 52, in a lot on Oakmont Avenue in the Kenfield housing complex.

Hemphill initially was charged with murder and his case was set for trial when he pleaded to the lesser charge before Erie County Judge Paul B. Wojtaszek.

The judge committed to a sentencing range of between 20 and 25 years in accepting the plea and scheduled sentencing for May 1.

Someone called for help for the victim at about 8:15 a.m. and Hemphill was arrested later that same day.

Police released little information about the incident other than to say the stabbing may have occurred during some type of dispute between the two men, who knew one another.

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