Nov. 30-A Falls man, previously convicted of accidentally shooting his girlfriend in a Cheektowaga restaurant with a stolen handgun, is now facing a charge that he burglarized the same woman's Cataract City home.
Anthony J. Ciccarelli, 22, of the Falls, faces a charge of second-degree burglary in connection with a May 1 break-in at the home of his shooting victim. Ciccarelli also faces drug possession counts connected to arrests by Falls police on July 14 and Aug. 5.
Despite previous drug and weapons possession convictions, and serving time in a local jail, Ciccarelli is now being screened for a judicial diversion program to handle his current charges. He is due back in court Dec. 8 in front of Erie County Court Judge Susan M. Eagan.
Eagan is presiding over the case as an acting Niagara County Court judge because Niagara County Court Judges Caroline Wojtaszek and John Ottaviano both recused themselves from the matter.
The recusal was the result of Ciccarelli's decision to retain Patrick Balkin and Nicholas D'Angelo as his defense attorneys. D'Angelo, a political operative who himself faces rape and sexual assault charges in an unrelated case, was previously involved in Wojtaszek's judicial campaign and was an attorney for the Niagara County Department of Social Services at the same time that Ottaviano was working as an assistant county attorney.
In May 2021, Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case sentenced Ciccarelli to serve one year in the Erie County Correctional Facility after he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in connection with a March 2020 shooting incident where he accidentally discharged a firearm in a restaurant.
On March 5, 2020, at about 5:50 p.m., Ciccarelli discharged a handgun, that was in his pants pocket, while he was dining at a restaurant in the Walden Galleria. The gunfire hit his girlfriend in her upper right leg.
The woman recovered from the non-life-threatening wound and police later determined that the handgun had been reported stolen from a vehicle in Niagara Falls and was not registered to Ciccarelli.
After pleading guilty to the gun possession charge, Ciccarelli was arrested for possession of cocaine.
On Oct. 1, 2020, at about 1:10 a.m., Cheektowaga Police officers approached a vehicle parked on Shanley Street and smelled the odor of marijuana. Ciccarelli, who was sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle, admitted to smoking marijuana.
After police ordered Ciccarelli to get out of the vehicle, they searched it and found more than 1/2 ounce of powdered cocaine and a scale under the driver's seat. Officers also found a small quantity of marijuana and $769 in cash in Ciccarelli's possession.
Ciccarelli pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced concurrently on the weapons and drug possession convictions.