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Buffalo man gets 22 years-to-life sentence in beating, sexual assault

A Buffalo man has been sentenced to 22-years-to-life in prison for the beating and sexual assault on a local woman walking home in Willert Park.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says 58-year-old Willie Sanders followed the woman walking home in August 2014. When he caught up to her, Sanders beat her repeatedly in the face and dragged her behind a set of bleachers at an elementary school. He then forced her to perform sexual acts at knifepoint.

The DA says the woman was able to escape when she offered him her purse. She went to the hospital where she was treated for sexual assault, a fractured facial bone and a facial laceration.

In a separate case, a 21-year-old Cheektowaga man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the beating death of a teen. The DA says Cody Jeffords severely beat 19-year-old Justin Vanderwalker of Cheektowaga in May after coming home and finding Vanderwalker with his girlfriend.

The victim initially fled the apartment, but the DA says Jeffords followed Vanderwalker outside and began striking him with his bare hands. Vanderwalker died three days later of the injuries he received in the fight.

Jeffords faces 19-25 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.