District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 52 year-old Eugene Lawrence Sr., of 294 Peach St. in the City of Buffalo was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, as charged, after an eight day jury trial before State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Haendiges.
On December 8, 2012, having repeatedly threatened to kill his estranged wife and their 7 children, Cheektowaga and Buffalo police officers responded to the defendant’s Peach St. address. Recovered inside the defendant’s safe was a stolen and loaded .22 revolver, as well as a holster and over 60 rounds of ammunition. Several witnesses testified that the defendant kept his valuable belongings, including his illegal gun, in the safe.
Despite being in custody and despite an Order of Protection, the defendant contacted his wife at least 78 times over the next 13 months and eventually convinced her to testify that the gun belonged to her. The jury rejected this false testimony, as evinced by their quick (under two hours of deliberation) and decisive verdict.
The defendant’s efforts at manipulation and intimidation were not limited to his wife. The defendant telephoned other prosecution witnesses, advising them that “they don’t know nothing” should they be questioned.
The defendant also made threatening remarks to the prosecution team, stating: “Those white witches…I know you’re listening, you’ve seen my record and you know I won’t forget.” The “record” referred to by the defendant includes eight prior criminal convictions, two of which are felonies, including a 1986 conviction for 1st degree manslaughter where the defendant slit the victim’s throat.
DA Sedita credited the investigation led by Buffalo Police Department Lieutenant Michael Quinn and Cheektowaga Police Department Sergeant Laurie Ucasz. DA Sedita also praised the efforts of Assistant District Attorneys Sara Ogden and Danielle Soluri, stating: “It is troubling when witnesses, and in this case, prosecutors, must contend with thugs who attempt to escape justice through witness tampering and intimidation. With neither fear nor hesitation, both prosecutors professionally executed their duties. Because of their efforts, as well as those of the police and the witnesses who bravely testified, a dangerous criminal has been brought to justice.”
The People intend to petition the court to find the defendant is a persistent felony offender, which is punishable by an indeterminate sentence having a maximum to life in prison. Otherwise, the defendant faces a minimum of 3 ½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when sentenced on March 3, 2014, by Justice Haendiges.