Suspect takes plea in Falls murder case

·2 min read

May 12—LOCKPORT — A Falls man used his last court hearing before a scheduled murder trial to finally take a plea offer from prosecutors.

Nathian Gleen, 26, agreed to plead guilty to a single count of first-degree manslaughter in connection with the July 5 stabbing death of Kenneth "Kenny" Mitchell.

"The plea offer had been on the table," Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman said. "And we expected him to plea at some point."

Gleen had been indicted by a Niagara County grand jury on one count of second-degree murder and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the slaying of Mitchell.

As part of the plea, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Gleen he would be sentenced to "something less than the maximum sentence" for the manslaughter count. A conviction for first-degree manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years.

Seaman said prosecutors would ask Murphy to. impose a sentence "approaching the maximum" when Gleen returns to court on July 22. Gleen remains held in the Niagara County jail in lieu of bail of $100,000 cash or $300,000 property.

Falls Police patrol officers were called to a parking lot at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Fifth Street at about 8:50 p.m. July 5, to "check the welfare" of a man who was lying on the ground there. When they arrived, they found Mitchell, with two stab wounds to the chest.

He was declared dead at the scene by responding Falls firefighters and EMTs.

Detectives said they were initially hampered in their attempt to identify Mitchell because he did not have any ID with him at the time of his death. Investigators said they were trying to determine what led to the slaying and why Mitchell, a Rochester resident, was in the Falls.

"He was visiting some people here," then Criminal Investigation Division Lt. John Conti said of Mitchell at the time.

Other sources said Mitchell was known to regularly frequent the Falls.

Investigators said Gleen fled from the murder scene before police arrived. He was taken into custody two days later by members of the U.S. Marshals Felony Fugitive Task Force.

Gleen reportedly spoke with detectives prior to his arrest, but declined to offer up a motive for the slaying other than saying he and Mitchell had a "confrontation." While not commenting specifically on a motive for the murder, detectives said the stabbing "was not a random act."

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