LOCKPORT – Billy L. Benton Jr., who shot a Niagara Falls man only to be shot himself three days later, pleaded guilty Friday in Niagara County Court.
Benton, 25, of Niagara Avenue in the Falls, admitted to second-degree assault and was promised a sentence of no more than five years in prison by County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas, who scheduled sentencing for April 26.
Benton shot Curtis Cheley, 52, in the right wrist and right leg Nov. 23 on Ninth Street.
On Nov. 26, Benton himself was shot in the leg. There have been no arrests in that case, mainly because Benton won’t tell police who shot him.
Benton has made all his court appearances with a walker. He told Farkas he suffered a fractured femur and foot when he was shot.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said Benton offered to reveal the name of the person who shot him in exchange for a lenient plea deal for himself in the Cheley shooting. Hoffmann declined that offer.
Benton was allowed to plead guilty before being indicted, and the five-year sentencing cap is two years below the maximum for second-degree assault.
State prison time is mandatory because Benton is a repeat felon. He pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in 2010.
In another case before Farkas Friday, a man who was accused of trying to rape a 60-year-old Niagara Falls woman was sentenced to four years in prison and seven years of post-release supervision.
Jeffrey Brantley, 47, of Walnut Avenue, had pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse.
Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said the Jan. 21, 2012, incident had a “devastating impact” on the victim, who approved the plea deal because the idea of testifying was “terrifying to her.”
Defense attorney Dominic Saraceno said, “Had [Brantley] known of her mental health limitations, he would have been less aggressive that night … He completely misread the signs he saw.”
Also Friday, Farkas canceled the work plans of repeat drunken driver Michael G. Barber, who was supposed to start a $20-an-hour job at the Norampac paper mill in Niagara Falls Monday.
Instead, Barber started a one-year County Jail term Friday for felony driving while intoxicated.
Barber, who violated probation on a previous felony DWI plea and served a year in jail, begged for probation so he could work at Norampac. “I’ll never get another chance like this,” he sobbed.
Barber, 31, of Hennepin Avenue in the Falls, was arrested May 13 after he left home in a car to get away from attacks by his abusive girlfriend. “He didn’t get far before he was pulled over,” defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. said.
“I’m taking into consideration the facts of this case, because [otherwise] this is a state prison case,” Farkas said. Faso did succeed in talking Farkas into six months of interim probation for Ronald A. Bugyi Jr., who had pleaded guilty to felony DWI.
Bugyi, 39, of New Road, Ransomville, had been arrested May 11 in Wilson.