LOCKPORT – David L. Alfonso sized up his legal situation over the weekend and decided that he was better off taking a plea offer than going to trial July 29 for the attempted murder of his girlfriend’s 7-year-old daughter.
After talking to his mother in the Niagara County Jail, Alfonso, 29, decided Monday to plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree assault, even though he failed to obtain an advance commitment on sentencing from County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.
“The court has discussed sentencing parameters and still has not given him any commitment as to what the sentence will be,” Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said.
Alfonso, who gave the court an address on Telegraph Road in Royalton, was arrested Dec. 31 and charged with trying to kill the girl in a home on Monroe Street in Lockport.
Farkas could give Alfonso anything between five and 15 years in prison when he returns to court Sept. 30. If he had been convicted of attempted murder, Alfonso could have been sentenced to as many as 25 years behind bars.
“You take a long, hard look at the evidence and decide whether you want to gamble on the outcome of a trial,” court-appointed defense attorney David C. Douglas said. “He decided he didn’t want to gamble.”
Alfonso, answering yes-or-no questions from Farkas, admitted that he tried to strangle the girl, showing “a depraved indifference to human life” and creating “a grave risk of death,” as the judge said when she read the charge aloud.
Police said the girl’s mother stopped the attack by stabbing Alfonso in the back with a knife. She was not charged.
Police picked up the blood-covered Alfonso at Lock and Monroe streets.
The girl’s mother was in court Monday, but left without comment.
Douglas had said after a court appearance Thursday that Alfonso wanted a 10-year sentencing cap and that he didn’t know whether Alfonso would plead guilty without a sentencing promise from Farkas.
Douglas said he wasn’t present for the talk between Alfonso and his mother, but he said, “I believe he did rely on the advice from that conversation.”
State prison time is mandatory because of the charge and because Alfonso is a second-time felon. He was convicted of drug possession in 2008.
Alfonso told Farkas he has never been ordered into a drug treatment program, but he said he turned himself in for drug treatment at a halfway house in Buffalo in 2010.