Niagara Gazette

August 18, 2010

Paul Harris guilty of menacing

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS — BUFFALO — A former Falls High School basketball star pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor criminal charge in Buffalo City Court.

In a deal with Erie County prosecutors, Paul Harris pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted second-degree menacing. Harris had faced charges of second-degree menacing, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and unlawful possession of marijuana.

According to the plea deal, the other charges against Harris are dropped.

The one-time local basketball star, who played two years at Syracuse University and has had a couple of NBA tryouts, could have faced 15 days in jail, a $500 fine and one year of probation as a result of his plea. However, Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin Keane sentenced Harris to a conditional discharge, ordering him to “lead a law-abiding life and continue to make child support payments” to his victim.

Harris’ victim declined to discuss the case outside of court, telling a reporter, “You’ll put it in the paper. I don’t really want to talk about it.”

The woman did say she was satisfied with the resolution of the case.

The Erie County District Attorney’s office did not return calls seeking clarification of Harris’ charges. A Buffalo police spokesman was not immediately able to provide details of the incident that reportedly occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 2.

A charge of second-degree menacing involves the use of a weapon. The victim would not say what type of weapon was involved.

Harris’ defense attorney, Alan Roscetti, said the incident involved a set of keys.

“He left (the victim’s) house with a set of keys and when he came back, the police were there,” Roscetti said.

The case had been scheduled Wednesday for a non-jury trial in front of Keane. Roscetti said he was happy to settle the case with a plea deal.

“I’ll take a conditional discharge,” he said.

Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer

at 282-2311, ext. 2252.