LOCKPORT – Darius M. Belton, the Niagara Falls man accused of fatally shooting his uncle in front of a crowd of witnesses, was offered a plea deal Monday.
Belton, 18, of South Avenue, will appear before Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas on Feb. 21 to say whether he will plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said she offered the plea deal to Belton along with a 20-year cap on his prison sentence. The legal maximum for that charge is 25 years in prison.
Belton is under indictment on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the Sept. 25 slaying of Luis A. Ubiles, 37, who lived next door to the defendant.
“The question is the [sentencing] commitment,” defense attorney Angelo Musitano said.
Hoffmann said, “At this point, we’re waiting to see if the judge will commit to a cap, and then we’ll go from there.”
The attorneys met with Farkas’ law clerk Monday, and Hoffmann met with family members.
“It’s the same family on both sides, so there’s a lot of emotion,” the prosecutor said. “Certainly a plea would bring a definite outcome, which trials never do.”
If convicted of murder, Belton would face a possible maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Ubiles died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. Police said the outdoor shooting followed a minor argument between Ubiles and Belton’s mother, Deon Ubiles. The dead man was the brother of Belton’s father.
Belton, accompanied by Musitano, turned himself in at Niagara Falls Police Headquarters on Sept. 28. He is in Niagara County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.
In another case Monday, Anthony D. Regalla, 47, of Colonial Drive, City of Tonawanda, was directed to tell Farkas on Feb. 21 if he will plead guilty in a June 20 North Tonawanda crash in which his car allegedly struck and injured two pedestrians and killed a dog before plunging into the Erie Canal.
The victims were Ronaldo Parker, 48, a Buffalo firefighter; his fiancee, Darnelle Brady, 42, of North Tonawanda; and her two miniature schnauzers. One dog was killed, and the other was injured.