Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 23 year old Eric Smith was convicted, as charged, of Assault in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree after a week-long jury trial before Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia.
Smith’s conviction stems from the August 5, 2012 attempt to intimidate and silence a prosecution witness in a homicide case. In that case, Mr. Smith’s associates are indicted for stabbing a 16 year old boy 52 times and incinerating his body. In this case, the defendant’s missed their intended target and instead shot an innocent bystander. Both incidents occurred in North Buffalo. Mr. Smith’s accomplice, Kentie Crump, is still awaiting trial for his alleged role in the shooting.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Michael P. Felicetta (assigned to DA Sedita’s recently formed Tactical Prosecution Unit) and James R. Gardner. Lauding their efforts, DA Sedita stated: “In addition to his violent conduct, the motive of the defendant is especially alarming; indeed, violent crimes motivated by witness intimidation are an affront to the very integrity of the criminal justice system and must be dealt with accordingly. I trust that all those who participate in our system of justice--the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, and judges--hold a similar view.”
Smith faces a maximum prison term of 25 years when he is sentenced before the Justice Buscaglia on July 2, 2013.