Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that Awet Gebreyesus pleaded guilty, as charged, to Attempted Murder in the Second Degree. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial.
Thirty-three year old Gebreyesus, a purported refugee from Eritrea, was under a court mandate to exchange his young son for visitation at the Wegman’s store on Amherst Street in Black Rock. This arrangement was made because the defendant had a history of threatening his wife.
On January 14, 2012, after exchanging the child, Gebreyesus attempted to kill the victim by repeatedly stabbing her. One of the knife thrusts punctured the victim’s skull and partially severed an artery in her brain, causing her to be hospitalized for approximately two weeks. The couple’s child witnessed the attack, but was not physically harmed. DA Sedita praised the actions of the civilians who prevented the victim’s murder, stating: “Because of their bravery, the victim survived the defendant’s vicious attack.”
The case was successfully prosecuted by Rachel Newton, Chief of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Bureau. Gebreyesus faces a prison term of up to 25 years when he is sentenced before Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges on May 15 at 2:00. He will also likely be deported following his sentence.