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LOCKPORT - The man who brutally assaulted professional boxer Nick Casal last year pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge and now faces a five-year prison term.

Michael P. Vicki, 31, formerly of the Town of Niagara and now living with his mother in Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree assault and admitted that he had attempted to cause serious physical injury to Casal with a dangerous instrument last May 12. Sentencing will be April 5.

Vicki had originally been charged with first-degree assault for attacking the 27-year-old welterweight boxer and would have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted. On the lesser charge of attempted first-degree assault, he could have faced up to 15 years in state prison, but Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas agreed in advance to a five-year cap as part of the deal.

Vicki also pleaded guilty to a charge related to his role in an unrelated case of insurance fraud as part of the deal.

According to authorities, Vicki attacked Casal with a metal instrument May 12 when Casal responded to a call from a new girlfriend, who asked to be picked up. Casal arrived at a Portland Street address, not knowing it was that of the girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, where he was attacked.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffman said Casal suffered four or five deep head wounds that exposed his skull and caused bleeding in the brain. She said doctors used 15 staples and up to 300 stitches to close the wounds. Casal told The Buffalo News that doctors suspect a crowbar was used in the attack.

Casal had to abort his plans to compete for the welterweight boxing title when he was attacked. He said that after the attack doctors told him he should have died, but he is now healed and hopes be back in the ring soon.

Hoffman told the court that Casal and his father, Ray Casal, were consulted on the plea and sentence.

The plea and sentencing cap also included insurance fraud charges from an unrelated case four days before the attack. Vicki admitted to fifth-degree insurance fraud, reduced from third-degree insurance fraud and attempted third-degree grand larceny. According to court records, he had crashed his car into a tree on Frontier Avenue, left the scene and then fraudulently reported it stolen, collecting $21,783 from New York Central Mutual Insurance.

Farkas told Vicki that she expects to sentence him to the full five years in state prison, as well as 2½ to five years post-release supervision.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com