Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 19 year old Luis Ayala-Pizarro, 21 year old Carlos Morales-Alvarez, and 24 year old Kelvin Viera Morales pleaded guilty as charged to Burglary in the First Degree and Robbery in the First Degree before Acting State Supreme Court M. William Boller. These are the highest charges for which the defendants could have been convicted had they gone to trial.
On December 9, 2012 at 11:30 p.m., the defendants forced their way inside the 19th Street home of Abimeal Ayala at gunpoint. Once inside they bound Ayala and his wife, Celia Rodriguez, with duct tape and demanded money. Fortunately, neighbors observed the defendants force their way into the Ayala-Rodriguez home and notified the authorities. Buffalo Police Officers quickly responded and surrounded the house.
Officer Steven Shultz broke the front door and entered the house. Viera-Morales attempted to escape out the back door but was confronted by Officers Christopher Mordino and Nicholas Parisi. Viera-Morales returned inside rather than surrender. Officer Brian Connors eventually found all three defendants hiding in an upstairs bedroom. The police also recovered a .44 caliber magnum revolver, which the defendants hid in a child’s playpen.
The case was successfully prosecuted by ADA John Feroleto, assigned to DA Sedita’s recently formed Tactical Prosecution Unit, and ADA Rene Juarez. In praising the efforts of his prosecutors, DA Sedita added: “Because of the vigilance of the victims’ neighbors and the bravery of the police officers, tragedy was avoided and three vicious thugs will go to state prison.”
The defendants face 5 to 25 years in state prison when they are sentenced by Justice Boller on June 27th (Viera-Morales and Alvarez) and July 5th (Pizarro).