LOCKPORT – Frank D. Murphy, a paraplegic accused of dealing drugs while sitting in his wheelchair on a Niagara Falls sidewalk last year, agreed Thursday to serve two years in the Niagara County Jail as he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors.
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas will impose the sentence officially Sept. 26 against Murphy, 29, who admitted to seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Police responding to a tip July 23, 2013, said they saw Murphy roll away in his chair as they exited their car on Ferry Avenue. Officers said a loaded .22-caliber revolver fell from the wheelchair as Murphy tried to flee, and they found a bag of crack cocaine on his lap.
A jury trial in a mistrial two weeks ago, as jurors reported that some of them were discussing newspaper reports about Murphy’s prior criminal record, published the week before the trial. That was when Murphy rejected a plea bargain that would have given him a three-year state prison sentence. If he had been convicted at trial, the maximum sentence would have been 15 years.
Murphy said he was left paralyzed from the waist down after a crash that he said resulted from a police chase in the Falls in 2008 or 2009.