Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 15, 2012

Lower charges sought in Casal case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The suspect in a vicious attack on Falls boxer Nick Casal claims prosecutors have charged him with the wrong crime.

Now the defense attorney for Michael Vicki is asking a Niagara County Court judge to dismiss at least part of a grand jury indictment against his client.

Following a brief conference in her chambers Monday afternoon, Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said Vicki's defense had asked her to "revisit" whether medical evidence given to the grand jury was "sufficient" to charge him with first-degree assault.

The grand jury indicted Vicki, 30, of Portland Street, Town of Niagara, on charges of first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon in a beating that left Casal with severe head injuries. Vicki has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Farkas said defense attorney James Faso argued that, based on medical records he had just received from prosecutors, his client should face a charge no greater than second-degree assault.

First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann told the judge if the charge was lowered, it should not go below attempted first-degree assault.

Hoffmann also said she would attempt to expedite the results of testing on a DNA sample taken from Vicki. Vicki had agreed to give a DNA sample after a mid-September hearing on his case.

However, prosecutors, who have made a plea offer to Vicki, did not move ahead with the testing because they believed that Vicki might take the plea during Monday's proceedings. 

Neither side in the case has said what the plea offer is and Vicki, who did not speak at the hearing, has not indicated whether he will consider the offer.

Farkas had ordered Vicki to give the DNA sample so that investigators can determine if his blood was present at the scene where Casal was brutally beaten.

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