LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man who spent most of his court appearance Friday staring down at the table and mumbling his answers pleaded guilty to shooting an alleged drug dealer, accidentally shooting himself and possessing crack cocaine.
Cornelius W. Redden III, 18, of Michigan Avenue, accepted a plea deal that limited his prison time to a maximum of 8½ years instead of the legal maximum of 15½ years.
“Mr. Redden, look at me,” Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas repeatedly demanded of Redden, who at first scotched the plea deal by refusing to respond when Farkas asked him a question.
“He doesn’t seem like he’s really too interested in this,” Farkas said.
A few minutes later, however, Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann returned to the courtroom and completed the plea bargain she had reached with defense attorneys James J. Faso Jr. and Michael H. White.
That deal involved guilty pleas to second-degree assault, attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and attempted fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Farkas said that when she sentences Redden on Sept. 27, she will make the time for the assault and weapons counts run simultaneously, but those terms won’t start until Redden completes his sentence for the drug charge.
Hoffmann said Redden shot Jonathan D. Bersani, 21, of Miller Road, Town of Niagara, on May 10 in Niagara Falls. Bersani, who was not seriously hurt, is under two indictments charging him with a total of four cocaine sales. He has pleaded not guilty.
Redden also was arrested on a gun possession charge after he accidentally shot himself June 2. He did not appear physically impaired in court Friday.
Redden also admitted that he had 580 milligrams of crack with him when Falls police arrested him last Oct. 9.
Redden was out on bail on the drug charge when he shot Bersani and himself, Hoffmann said. Redden also was on probation for robberies when arrested on the drug charge.