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Shrubsall returns to Lockport to face charges from 23 years ago

Convicted killer and sex offender William C. Shrubsall, who had been imprisoned in Canada for 20 years, returned Tuesday to a Lockport courtroom, where a judge arraigned him on bail jumping and criminal contempt charges dating from 1996.

Shrubsall pleaded not guilty, and he was jailed without bail.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. set a trial date of June 10.

"There will be no plea offer from our office. I'm sure it will be a trial," Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek said.

She also said she has alerted the state Attorney General's Office to think about using the state's sex offender civil confinement law to keep Shrubsall in a mental institution after he finishes his sentence – or sentences.

"We will do everything we can in Niagara County to keep him in jail as long as possible," Wojtaszek said.

Shrubsall, 47, will be known as Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod at his future court dates. He legally changed his name while in prison in Canada, where he served time for attacking three women in separate 1998 crimes.

The Parole Board of Canada ordered him deported in November, and he crossed the border Monday.

"They did that knowing that they had recent reports stating he was at a high risk to reoffend," Wojtaszek said.

A Canadian judge, who in 2001 allowed Shrubsall to be imprisoned without a definite release date as a dangerous offender, wrote of Shrubsall's "personality disorders and psychopathic features" and his "failure to control his sexual impulses."

Infamous Falls killer returning to N.Y. after release from prison in Canada

Shrubsall, 47, has been a notorious figure in Western New York since he killed his mother, Marianne "Marge" Shrubsall, with a baseball bat the night before his LaSalle High School graduation in June 1988.

An appellate court granted him youthful offender status and reduced his maximum prison sentence from 15 years to four years. He served 16 months.

In May 1996, while on trial on charges of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in Niagara Falls in August 1995, he fled to Canada, leaving behind a note which implied that he had thrown himself over the American Falls. The Niagara County Court jury convicted him of first- and third-degree sexual abuse.

Shrubsall owes the state prison system 2 1/3 to seven years for those convictions. If found guilty of bail jumping, Shrubsall faces a potential sentence of another 2 1/3 to seven years.

William Shrubsall enters State Supreme Court in Lockport Tuesday. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Kloch ruled Tuesday that Shrubsall can be sent to state prison to begin his 1996 sentence as soon as Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour is ready.

Shrubsall was more concerned about having his name changed to MacLeod on the records of the old case.

"In terms of being incarcerated going forward, that's how I would like to be known," he said.

Kloch said the new name would be used on all future records, but as for the 1996 conviction, "I don't think I can go back and rewrite history."

"Fair enough, Your Honor," Shrubsall replied.

William C. Shrubsall, right, and his attorney Paul G. Cleary leave the Niagara County Courthouse in Lockport in 1988. Shrubsall, who killed his mother with a baseball bat while in high school and compiled an extensive criminal record in two countries, is set to return to New York after earning parole in Canada. (News file photo)

He was represented by Niagara County Assistant Public Defender David E. Blackley, who asked for a three-week delay in sending Shrubsall to state prison to make it easier to prepare for the upcoming trial and a pretrial hearing March 20.

"Under what authority?" Kloch asked. "It was a properly pronounced sentence."

Blackley declined to be interviewed after court.

Sometime between March and June, there will be a hearing on the admissibility of Shrubsall's bogus 1996 suicide note, left behind at the home of his aunt, the late June I. Epp.

In April 2017, a New York State court blocked Shrubsall from collecting a $41,000 bequest from Epp, the sister of his mother. The court ruled the victim of the 1995 sexual assault was entitled to that money.

However, she has not filed a request for it, and the money remains in an escrow account controlled by Epp's attorney, David G. Boniello.

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