Tonawanda News

August 22, 2013

Stabbing death headed to trial

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT — A North Tonawanda woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death in February turned down a plea offer Wednesday for first-degree manslaughter, a move that will now send her case to trial. 

Jennifer Marchant, 23, was offered the deal by Deputy District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann in Niagara County Court, which would have led to a 15- to 25-year sentence. The trial is set to begin Oct. 7.

Marchant was originally charged with second-degree murder for a single stab wound to the neck of her Ralph D. Stone inside an Oliver Street apartment, though the charge was later reduced. 

Marchant has been free on bail since April 23, after posting $100,000 bond. Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said the prosecution and defense met in her chambers shortly before the plea offer was declined in the courtroom by her attorney, Dominic Saraceno. 

A Huntley Hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11, a pretrial procedure allowing the defense to challenge how police obtained statements from Marchant during and after her arrest. 

Saraceno told Farkas he had only reviewed part of the police recordings made after Marchant’s arrest, and would still need to review 911 calls to Niagara County dispatchers. 

“We’re going to call it a Huntley and a final pretrial,” Farkas said, of the September court appearance. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.