LOCKPORT — A hearing in the case of a Lockport teen, charged in the stabbing death of another teenager, was delayed Monday morning as a Niagara County Court judge was considering a motion to replace the murder count facing D'vonne Clark with the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter.
The request came from defense attorney Joseph Scalzo in a filing that asks Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon to re-review testimony presented to a Niagara County grand jury that indicted Clark on a charge of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Elijah Wedington.
Scalzo has suggested that Clark,17, was acting in self-defense when he stabbed Wedington, 16, during a melee near Pine Street and Heritage Court on July 28.
Investigators say Clark stabbed Wedington in the side of the chest as they fought in what police called a “group brawl.” Interim Lockport Police Chief Steve Preisch described the two teens as "acquittances of each other” and said they “were somewhat rivals.”
Sheldon had previously reviewed the minutes of the grand jury and ruled them "sufficient" to charge Clark with murder. The judge also relied on the grand jury minutes to determine that Clark should not be released on bail.
Scalzo has repeatedly asked for bail for his client.
"We believe there will be issues of reasonable doubt in this case,” Scalzo told Sheldon at a hearing in August.
The claim brought a rebuke from Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann.
“I highly disagree with Mr Scalzo’s interpretation of the facts,” Hoffmann told the judge.
Sheldon, agreed with Hoffmann.
“I reviewed the grand jury transcript,” the judge said, “and in my view, this (case) is a (no bail).”