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Convictions Upheld by Appellate Division


06/27/2013

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita announced today the convictions of the following defendants were upheld on appeal by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

  • Robert Gwynn, Jr., who in 2007 pleaded guilty to Murder in the 2nd Degree in connection with the armed robbery and fatal shooting of a delicatessen owner.
  • Trumaine Suttles, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to Murder in the 2nd Degree in connection with the fatal shooting of 23 year-old Kenzei Fleming. Suttles, affectionately referred to as “Toast” by his fellow gangsters, claimed he was truly sorry and pleaded guilty to provide the victim’s family “closure on the loss of a loved one.”
  • Lavon Turrentine, who in 2010 pleaded guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree in connection with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana and crushing an 8 year-old boy to death with that vehicle.
  • Michael Hoyt, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to Criminal Sexual Act in the 1st Degree in connection with sodomizing a 6 year-old girl.
  • Charles Porterfield, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the 2nd Degree in connection with the repeated sexual abuse a girl over a three year period, commencing when that child was only 5 years-old. 
  • Kenneth Jones, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to Assault in the 1st Degree in connection with a botched knife-point robbery attempt, where the victim was repeatedly stabbed in the chest and abdomen, resulting in a month-long coma and extended hospitalization. 
  • Terrence M. Dearmeyer, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to Attempted Burglary in the 2nd Degree in connection with a domestic violence assault after he had broken into a woman’s home.

All of the forgoing defendants waived their right to appeal at the time they pleaded guilty to the serious crimes they committed.

Despite their waivers of appeal, all of the above defendants nevertheless appealed, which caused the District Attorney’s Office to devote substantial resources to fight the appeals and uphold the convictions. All of the above defendants were also represented by public defenders who filed the appeals and who were paid for their services from public funds.

District Attorney Sedita stated the following.

“Our Constitution as well as fundamental fairness mandates that every citizen is entitled to a defense. That is why I fully support financially disadvantaged defendants having access to competent attorneys, even at public expense. By the same token, when a represented defendant admits to his crimes, pleads guilty in a court of law, and promises under oath he will not appeal, that should actually mean something.

Most members of the criminal defense bar in Erie County professionally represent their clients in an ethical manner and are to be respected for their critical role in the criminal justice system. It is, however, troubling when costly and frivolous appeals are still filed, at taxpayer expense, on behalf of murderers, pedophiles, and other assorted sociopaths who admitted their guilt and waived their right to appeal.”