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Murder sentencing goes awry in dispute over gun charge

Murder sentencing goes awry in dispute over gun charge

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Geoffrey Sandiford

Geoffrey O. Sandiford (Courtesy Niagara County Sheriff's Office)

Geoffrey O. Sandiford will serve at least 15 years to life in prison for shooting a man to death in Niagara Falls last year, but Monday's sentencing was derailed in a dispute over whether the minimum sentence should be increased to 30 years.

In addition to second-degree murder for the July 21, 2020, death of Nathan Craft, 29, Sandiford also pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Defense attorney Anthony J. Lana said a 15-year sentence for the gun charge, imposed by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., should be served simultaneously.

But Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said the gun sentence should be consecutive, making Sandiford's sentence 30 years to life. Kloch ordered the consecutive sentence, but Lana protested, saying Kloch had promised only a 15-year-to-life sentence when Sandiford pleaded guilty June 21. Kloch adjourned the case to Oct. 1 to check the transcript.

Hoffmann said Sandiford refused to cooperate against alleged accomplice Rohmeo K. Lewis, 20, who is slated for trial.

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