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Five Killers to Stay in Prison


06/19/2014

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces the homicide convictions of five defendants have recently been upheld.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Kevin Davis II, who was found guilty of Murder in the Second Degree after a jury trial. A member of the “Gangster Disciples,” on September 30, 2010, Davis shot nineteen rounds from an AK-47 Assault Rifle into a house, believing it to be occupied by a person labeled as a “snitch” by his coterie of urban sociopaths. The house was instead occupied by several children, including 15 year-old Domonique Maye, who was sitting at a computer just moments before being fatally struck by gunfire.

At trial, defense attorney Emily Trott repeatedly characterized the prosecution witnesses as “liars” and accused the District Attorney’s Office of making a pact with the devil. The jury rejected counsel’s petulant and incendiary claims and convicted the defendant as charged. The court sentenced Davis to a term of 25 years-to-life in state prison, where he remains today.

Davis was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gary Hackbush, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Homicide Bureau, while the conviction was successfully defended by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Powers, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Appeals Bureau.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court also upheld the conviction of Marcus Gottsche, who was found guilty of Murder in the Second Degree after a jury trial. On February 15, 2012, Gottsche fatally shot 28 year-old Jasmine Armour in the back as she ran down the street in a futile effort to escape Gottsche’s wrath over eating his sandwich. The court sentenced Gottsche to a term of 25 years-to-life in state prison, where he remains today.

Gottsche was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin-Gable, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Homicide Bureau, while the conviction was successfully defended by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Powers, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Appeals Bureau.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Joseph Ayer, who pleaded guilty as charged to Criminally Negligent Homicide in connection with the March 20, 2012 death of Chelsea Olsen. Ms. Olsen was ejected from the back of a motorcycle being driven by Ayer at an excessive amount of speed down the Aurora Expressway. Ayer was sentenced to 1⅓ to 4 years in state prison.

It should also be noted that Ayers appealed his conviction and sentence despite waiving his right to appeal under oath and waiving his right to appeal in writing.

Ayer was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bethany Solek, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, while the conviction was successfully defended by Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Texido, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Appeals Bureau.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court also upheld the conviction of Jonathan Lewicki, who pleaded guilty as charged to Murder in the Second Degree and Burglary in the Third Degree in connection with the fatal stabbing of Conrad Parker, the late owner of the Garden Spot Nursery in Cheektowaga.

In July of 2011, Lewicki broke into the victim’s home (having burglarized the victim’s business a few days beforehand), stabbed the victim seventeen times, and stole the victim’s vehicle and credit cards. The court sentenced Lewicki to 18 years-to-life in state prison.

Despite waiving his right to appeal both under oath and in writing, Lewicki sought to overturn his conviction. He claimed, in part, that his guilty plea was defective because his attorney did not visit him enough while he was in jail.

Lewicki was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin-Gable, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Homicide Bureau, while the conviction was successfully defended by Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Texido, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Appeals Bureau.

Federal Court Judge Michael A. Telesca upheld the conviction of David Sell. In September of 1997, a trial jury found Sell guilty of Murder in the Second Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree and Criminal Weapon in the Second Degree in connection with the 1995 fatal shooting of Sheldon Newkirk. Shockingly, the defendant had a prior record of violent felonies and was thus sentenced to 43½ years-to-life in state prison, where he remains.

In 2001, Sell’s conviction was unanimously affirmed by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. Sell then filed a motion to vacate the judgment of conviction but that motion was denied in 2002. Sell appealed the denial of that motion and, in 2008, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court once again affirmed the ruling of the lower court. This did not dissuade Sell from filing yet another motion to set aside the judgment of conviction which was again denied in 2009.

Having failed five times to overturn his conviction in state court, Sell set upon a course of federal litigation, starting with the filing of a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in 2012. In a 44 page opinion, Judge Telesca denied the petition and once again upheld the conviction.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Hillery, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Appeals Bureau, is the latest prosecutor to successfully defend the conviction after thirteen years of taxpayer financed appellate litigation.