Mar. 26—NORTH TONAWANDA — Niagara County prosecutors have offered a suspended University at Buffalo men’s basketball player a plea deal in connection with an assault at a pick-up game in North Tonawanda.
During a hearing Thursday in North Tonawanda City Court, prosecutors offered to let Malik Zachery plead guilty to a single count of third-degree assault, an A misdemeanor. He is charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The charges stem from an incident where a Canisius College basketball player was stabbed during a melee that followed a pick-up game on Sept. 9 in the gym at St. Matthew Lutheran Church on Eggert Drive.
Zachery is accused of stabbing Canisius College player Scott Hitchon. North Tonawanda Police indicated that their investigation showed that Zachery had thrown a punch at a Canisius player, setting off a brawl.
Zachery’s father, Michael Zachery, told the Buffalo News that his son was involved in a larger altercation and was also injured. While Michael Zachery said he was not present during the incident, he said his son’s injury might require surgery.
A native of Syracuse, Zachery was a junior at UB. He had spent two years at Chipola College, a junior college in Marianna, Florida before joining the Bulls.
Zachery was suspended from the UB team following the incident, but remained enrolled at the university.
Days before the North Tonawanda stabbing, a Niagara University softball player filed a report with the Niagara Falls Police Department claiming Zachery physically harassed her at a party. The party took place the morning of Aug. 30 at 2829 McKoon Ave.
According to Falls police, Zachery was among “3 to 4” UB men’s basketball players invited to a party at the location. Zachery allegedly started calling the softball player names, and the UB players were asked to leave.
Another UB player reportedly threatened to “shoot” up the house when the party was taking place and Zachery allegedly “mushed” his plastic cup in the Niagara player’s face, spilling his drink down her shirt. Zachery was also accused of spitting in the victim’s face.
Police said the NU softball player declined to press charges.