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LOCKPORT – One and one-third to four years in prison was the sentence Thursday for a Niagara Falls man who recklessly pressed a lighted cigarette against his girlfriend’s chest, choked her and bruised her face.

Howard M. Neal, 26, of Linwood Avenue, had pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal contempt. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Neal, “I think you’re a violent abuser who has no respect for the woman you were dealing with, or for the court.”

Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said, “We have two individuals who won’t stay away from each other despite an order of protection.” Murphy issued an order allowing Neal to have contact with the woman but barred him from “offensive conduct.”