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Dennis Abrams pleads guilty for role in Elba bank robbery

By Howard B. Owens

NOTE: This is a rewrite of a previously posted version.

Two of the three men accused of robbing the M&T Bank in Elba on June 18 appeared in court today, and one of them, Dennis M. Abrams entered a guilty plea to one of the charges against him.

The felony conviction, as part of a plea bargain, carries a maximum sentence of 17-and-half-years in prison.

When District Attorney Lawrence Friedman informed Judge Robert Noonan of the plea arrangement, the friends and family of Abrams who were in the courtroom let out audible expressions of shock.

Abrams will be sentenced in two weeks, after a probation department review to help the judge determine an appropriate sentence. He could serve only five years, depending on Judge Noonan's ruling.

Meanwhile, co-defendant Matthew J. Wells followed Abrams into court, but he wasn't there to enter a plea. Rather the judge and attorneys were agreeing to a date for a future hearing on motions made by Attorney Thomas Burns, including a motion for change of venue.

Under questioning from Noonan, Abrams entered his guilty plea and then admitted to the bank robbery. He also said his previous confessions were true and accurate. He also agreed to testify in any trials for his co-defendants, if there is a trial (at this time, that would likely be only Wells, who is proceeding with a defense).

Co-defendant Demone Dillon entered a guilty plea two weeks ago.

Abrams and Wells remain in jail in lieu of bail.

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