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LOCKPORT – Three Niagara Falls men were sent to state prison Thursday in connection with the shooting of a teenager who was left with a bullet lodged near his heart.

There continued to be disagreement over who actually shot Anthony McDougald, who was 18 when he was wounded April 25 at 12th and Niagara streets in the Falls.

But attorneys agreed that the shooting resulted from a quarrel between McDougald and Marlyn M. Rubin, 20, of Niagara Street, over Rubin’s girlfriend.

Rubin then followed McDougald, who was on foot, in a car driven by Jacob J. Taggart, 23, of Niagara Avenue. Also on hand was Paul E. Buck Jr., 21, of Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Deborah Schultz, McDougald’s grandmother, said Rubin’s girlfriend was walking with McDougald and was texting Rubin their location. “They all chose to hunt him down,” Schultz said.

At first, McDougald didn’t speak at the sentencing, but while Buck was in front of the bench, he signaled the prosecutor that he wanted to do so. McDougald then taunted Rubin.

“You’ll forever be a coward to me. I know where you’re at,” McDougald said. “I stopped my family from coming to get you. … This could have went a whole different way. It wasn’t worth going to jail for, or anybody from my family going to jail.”

Taggart and Buck each drew 7 years in prison with 5 years’ post-release supervision. Rubin was sentenced to 5 years in prison and 3 years’ post-release supervision. If convicted at trial, they would have risked 25-year sentences.

“I’m not going to sentence you to the maximum, because there’s no evidence you possessed a firearm,” Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Rubin. The judge concluded that Taggart and Buck had guns. When Buck pleaded guilty to second-degree assault Jan. 3, he said he shot McDougald.

But Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said, “While the investigation has always led to Mr. Taggart [as the shooter], Mr. McDougald has never wavered on the fact that Mr. Buck also had a gun. It’s possible they were both shooting.”

“I pleaded guilty because I felt guilty for what had happened,” Buck said.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” Taggart said.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com