Submitted by the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office
Niagara County District Attorney Brian D. Seaman announced 22-year-old Gabriel Behrens of Niagara Falls, after pleading guilty to a series of crimes occurring in the Falls in 2022 and 2023, was sentenced. Behrens plead guilty to manslaughter in the first degree for shooting and killing 16-year-old Elijah Lopez on Feb. 20 of this year at Jordan Gardens. Behrens also plead guilty to attempted robbery in the first degree for an armed robbery occurring in an alleyway off Niagara Street a week later, on Feb. 26. Finally, Behrens plead guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for possessing a firearm in June of 2022.
Behrens faced as much as 35 years in prison pursuant to the plea agreement. He was sentenced by County Court Judge Caroline Wojtaszek to a total term of 32 years, plus a period of five years post-release supervision.
“This individual’s criminal conduct ranged from possession of an illegal weapon to armed robbery and manslaughter resulting in the tragic loss of a young man’s life,” Seaman said. “He will now spend the next three decades in prison, a lengthy sentence but no consolation to Elijah Lopez’s family.”
The cases were investigated by the Niagara Falls Police Department and prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann, Executive Assistant District Attorney Mary Jean Bowman and Assistant District Attorney Maria Stoelting.