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Submitted by Niagara County District Attorney's Office
Niagara County District Attorney Brian D. Seaman announced Howard J. Murphy was sentenced to 2-1/3 to 7 years in state prison by County Court Judge Caroline Wojtaszek for his conviction of criminal mischief in the second degree, as a hate crime. Murphy was previously convicted of vandalizing his neighbor’s fence with a racial slur, inciting violence just two days after the mass shooting at Tops in Buffalo.
“This hate crime did serve to terrorize a family,” Seaman said. “It was traumatic to have that message of violence and hate delivered, just two days after a race-motivated massacre. This family was in real fear that someone was going to target them for violence. The punishment in this case reflects the trauma that was experienced by the victims.”
To their credit, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Niagara Police Department investigated and quickly solved this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Susan Bjornholm.
•Seaman announced David P. Draper of Niagara Falls was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison on his conviction of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle incident without reporting. Draper previously admitted to striking and killing 61-year-old Barry C. Tierney, who was riding his bike on Lewiston Road in Lewiston last Sept. 11, and then proceeding home without stopping or reporting the incident.
“The evidence in the case showed that the defendant had been drinking and that was the reason he did not stop and call police,” Seaman said. “Because he didn’t stop, we will never know what his blood alcohol content was. The law, however, makes leaving the scene of a fatality the same level offense as a vehicular manslaughter, because nobody should be able to obtain a benefit from fleeing the scene.”
The sentence was imposed by County Court Judge John Ottaviano, and the case was investigated by the Lewiston Police Department and prosecuted by Vehicular Crimes Bureau Chief Christine Savoia.