Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 29 year-old Rayshawn Bethany was found guilty as charged of Murder in the Second Degree after a jury trial before Senior Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. This was the highest charge of the indictment and the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted.
On May 22, 2012, on 18th St. in the City of Buffalo, Vernon Hardy was shot eight times by masked assailants firing from a moving van. An exhaustive investigation spearheaded by Buffalo Police Department Homicide Detectives Salvatore Valvo and James Lema determined that Bethany was the driver of the van. Bethany decided not to fully cooperate with the authorities and was consequently arrested, indicted, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Bethany remains in custody and faces up to 25 years-to-life in state prison when sentenced before Judge D’Amico on July 25, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
The case was successfully tried by Assistant District Attorney James F. Bargnesi, who is Chief of DA Sedita’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Justin T. Wallens, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau. DA Sedita commended his prosecutors, adding: “such bloodthirsty acts of violence cannot be tolerated in a civil society, and will continue to be aggressively prosecuted by this office, as they always have”.