Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that, on the eve of his jury trial, 56-year old Reginald Pierce pleaded guilty as charged to one count of Assault in the Second Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, the defendant was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On June 22, 2013, as neighbors and children enjoyed an idyllic summer evening outdoors along Phyllis Avenue in the City of Buffalo, Pierce emerged from his girlfriend’s home to hurl insults at his neighbors. The vile invective included several boasts that he would force a neighbor’s wife to perform sexual acts upon him.
Pierce then directed his opprobrium towards 65-year old William Boyd, who was standing across the street. Pierce and Mr. Boyd are not unacquainted. In 2010, Pierce ambushed Mr. Boyd inside of a Tops Supermarket, damaging Mr. Boyd’s cornea in an attack that was captured on surveillance video. The defendant was convicted of assault for the attack and sentenced to jail.
Undeterred by his previous conviction and incarceration, Pierce told Mr. Boyd, “I took your one eye already, I’m going to take your other one next.” Unwilling to engage his victim face-to-face, however, Pierce retreated to the safety of his girlfriend’s living room and cravenly waited several minutes until Mr. Boyd turned around to go back to his house. Only then, when his victim’s back was turned and guard lowered, did Pierce pounce. Armed with a 3 foot-long club, Pierce struck Mr. Boyd several times in the head, arm, and leg. The vicious assault shattered the victim’s forearm and lacerated the victim’s head, requiring emergency treatment and eventual surgery.
Somehow, during the assault, Mr. Boyd wrested the club away from Pierce, who then beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of his girlfriend’s house. He was arrested minutes later by Buffalo Police Officers, but not until after he sought to menace them with a garden hoe.
The June 22nd assault--the third one for which Pierce has now been convicted--was only the latest incident in a long campaign of hostility and aggression by the defendant toward his neighbors, and prompted D.A. Sedita to state, “no one should be bullied in their own neighborhood, and, certainly, cowardly attacks on defenseless and unsuspecting neighbors cannot go unpunished.”
Pierce faces up to 7 years behind bars when he is sentenced on June 17, 2014 by Justice Burns. The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.