LOCKPORT – Marc A. Madore was convicted Friday of the near-fatal stabbing of a friend after a day of heavy drinking in the victim’s Niagara Falls home.

A Niagara County Court jury of nine men and three women had the case for 8½ hours over two days before coming in with a verdict shortly after 3 p.m. Friday.

The jury convicted Madore of first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, but acquitted him on a charge of attempted second-degree murder. In other words, the jurors believed Madore intended to seriously injure Shawn Stoltz but not kill him.

“That’s the distinction,” said Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell.

It’s a distinction without a difference as far as sentencing is concerned, since the maximum sentence is the same for first-degree assault as it is for attempted murder. Madore, 42, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, could go to prison for as long as 25 years when he returns before County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas July 2. In the meantime, he’s being held without bail.

“He’s going to appeal, obviously,” said defense attorney Patrick Balkin, who made a self-defense argument on Madore’s behalf.

Stoltz, 37, was stabbed in the head, chest, back and abdomen in a fight with Madore in front of Stoltz’ Ferry Avenue home about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Madore testified that he was defending himself after Madore allegedly knifed him in the forearm as Madore tried to walk through the front yard gate. Stoltz said that he hit Madore, but didn’t stab him.

The knife used apparently came out of Madore’s pocket, however. Madore testified that he knew Stoltz carried a knife. Also, Stoltz had beaten up Madore about a month earlier.

Caldwell, who prosecuted the case along with colleague Kevin D. Canali, told the jury that the argument started over the odor of a can of purple spray paint, which Madore had used to paint a chair on the front porch of Stoltz’ home. After a tussle inside the house, others present urged Madore to leave, but Stoltz also went outside.

Both men were drinking beer for hours. Madore said he put away about 10 “tall boys,” each 22 to 24 ounces, in a seven-hour period. Stoltz also downed numerous beers and also used crack cocaine. Madore testified that he wanted some crack but was refused, apparently because the supply in the house was short.

After the knifing, Stoltz, despite heavy loss of blood, was able to walk under his own power to nearby Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where he was stabilized before a transfer to Erie County Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for a week.

The jury examined all the photos of the injuries of both men and also heard Stoltz’ testimony read back to them before arriving at a decision.