Nine More Gun Wielding Defendants Successfully Prosecuted

Modified: May 30, 2017 8:39am

10/6/2015

First Assistant Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that nine more defendants, all carrying illegal handguns, were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

31 year-old Jermaine Jackson of Buffalo was found guilty as charged of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree after a trial in State Supreme Court This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted.

On November 3, 2014, at 7:00 p.m., Buffalo Police Officers observed Jackson walking out of a store at Wende and East Ferry in the City of Buffalo. Jackson spotted the police car approach and turned around to reenter the store.  As Jackson walked back inside the store, he attempted to conceal his illegal .32 caliber revolver.  Buffalo Police Officers Justin Tedesco and Joseph Acquino observed Jackson with the gun and pursued him into the store.  Jackson discarded the weapon in a display rack of potato chips and then pretended as if he had no idea why the police were attempting to detain him. Surveillance video captured Jackson’s attempt to hide the illegal weapon.

No stranger to illegal handguns, Jackson has been previously convicted of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime in Federal Court for which he received a five year sentence in federal prison. Jackson faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on October 27, 2015 by Justice Christopher J. Burns.   

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Feroleto, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Tactical Prosecution Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Matthew Szalkowski, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Justice Court Bureau. 

Also found guilty as charged of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree after a trial in State Supreme Court, was 33 year-old Taurean Smith of 201 Fairgreen Street in the Town of Amherst. This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted.

On June 15, 2014 on Fillmore Avenue in the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Police Officer Kelvin Sharpe saw that Smith, the front seat passenger of a vehicle, was not wearing a seatbelt. Officer Sharpe stopped the vehicle but Smith jumped out and ran, causing Officer Sharpe to chase him on foot. Smith was eventually apprehended, but not before discarding his loaded and unlicensed .38 caliber revolver.

No stranger to the criminal justice system, Smith has two prior violent felony convictions. If found to be a persistent violent felony offender, Smith faces a maximum of 25 years-to-life behind bars when he is sentenced by Justice Russell Buscaglia on November 12, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Julie Bender Fiske, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Bureau.

21 year-old Marquel Foster of 696 Lasalle Ave. in the City of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in State Supreme Court. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted. In other words, Foster did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On the evening of December 2, 2014, Foster was in a parked vehicle in front of 20 Kilhoffer Street in the City of Buffalo. Officers Michael Acquino and Mark Hamilton observed smoke within the vehicle, noticed the strong odor of marihuana and saw Foster secreting an object behind the front passenger seat. Officers thereafter recovered a loaded .38 special revolver from behind the front passenger seat. DNA testing confirmed that Foster possessed the firearm. Foster faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on November 24, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. by Justice Christopher J. Burns.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeremy V. Murray, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau.

22 year-old Andre Thomas of Miller Avenue in the City Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in State Supreme Court.  This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial.  In other words, Thomas did not receive a “plea bargain” and was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

On September 12, 2014, while on routine patrol on Wende Street in the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Police Officer Mark Hamilton saw Thomas swiftly walk away from a group of men. Officer Hamilton turned on his flashlight to better illuminate Thomas, who immediately fled and jumped over a nearby fence. Officer Hamilton heard a metal clanging sound during the foot chase and recovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol on the ground. Meanwhile, Officer Joseph Acquino intercepted the defendant, who was nevertheless able to escape after a struggle. The defendant’s escape from the long arm of the law was, however, fleeting, because the same officers spotted the defendant on November 11, 2014 and arrested him. Thomas faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on November 30, 2015 before Justice Russell Buscaglia. 

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sydney V. Probst who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau. 

21 year-old Raymond Lee of 290 Bissell Street in the City of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in Erie County Court. This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted. In other words, Lee was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On June 6, 2014, Buffalo Police Officers Michael Acquino and Mark Hamilton observed Lee walking in the middle of Harriet Avenue. The officers asked Lee why he was walking in the middle of the street. Displaying both his quick wit and mastery of idiom, Lee responded, “Nope” and fled. As he ran, Lee pulled out a loaded and unlicensed pistol and threw it to the ground before he was apprehended. Lee faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced by Judge Sheila A. DiTullio on October 29, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. 

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John P. Gerken, Jr., who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Tactical Prosecution Unit. 

17 year-old Deandre Brown of South Ogden Street in the City of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in Erie County Court. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted. In other words, Brown did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On June 26, 2015, the defendant went to ECMC to be treated for a gunshot wound. ECMC public safety officers notified the Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad and an investigation, spearheaded by Detective Carl Lundin, ensued. Brown eventually admitted to possessing a loaded .25 Lorcin pistol and “accidentally” discharging the weapon. The illegal firearm was promptly recovered by the police in the vehicle used to transport the defendant to the hospital. Were he an adult, Brown would face a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison; however, Brown is eligible for so-called “youthful offender” treatment when sentenced by Judge Kenneth F. Case on November 15, 2015.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Felony Trial Bureau.

26 year-old Clarence Houston of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in Erie County Court.  This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted. In other words, Houston did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

On March 13, 2015, Houston was a passenger inside of a car which was stopped by the Buffalo Police for vehicular offenses. Houston and other individuals in the vehicle had been smoking marijuana immediately prior to the stop.  The police found a loaded revolver underneath the front passenger seat -- Houston was directly behind the front passenger seat -- during a subsequent search of the vehicle.  Houston denied any knowledge of the weapon. Contrary to his claim of innocence, DNA testing confirmed the presence of Houston’s DNA on the weapon and excluded the vehicle’s other occupants. Houston faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on February 16, 2015.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Feroleto, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Tactical Prosecution Unit. 

20 year-old Derek McQuillar of 27 Lebanon St. in the City of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in Erie County Court.  This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted of had he gone to trial.  In other words, McQuiller was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On May 25, 2015, City of Lackawanna Police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call.  Upon arrival, the officers observed McQuillar steal a cell phone from a female and flee on foot.  The officers pursued McQuillar and apprehended him after the brief chase.  The officers retraced McQuillar’s footsteps and found a .45 caliber Colt revolver loaded with 3 rounds.  McQuillar faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on December 15, 2015.  

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Langenfeld, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau. 

17 year-old SP pleaded guilty as charged to one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in Erie County Court. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted. In other words, SP did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On the evening of May 18, 2015, Buffalo Police Officers Michael Coppola and Thomas Sercu saw the defendant walk quickly away from their patrol vehicle and throw an object under a fence at 410 Dearborn Street in the city of Buffalo. The object was a loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol which contained the defendant’s DNA profile. SP faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on January 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeremy V. Murray, who is assigned to the Erie County District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau.

First Assistant DA Flaherty stated the following:

“Permitting a reduced plea or so-called plea bargain in these types of cases usually results in the court imposing a non-jail sentence. However, a conviction as charged, whether by a plea to the charge or by a conviction after a contested trial, almost always results in a state prison sentence.

Accordingly, the Office of the Erie County District Attorney, with rare exception, does not offer a so-called plea bargain to those who illegally carry handguns. Instead, this office merely ‘offers’ the defendant two choices: plead guilty as charged or go to trial. This policy has resulted in hundreds of convictions for illegal gun possession and hundreds of mandatory state prison sentences. We believe that the prevention of other violent crimes -- such as armed robbery and shootings -- is the chief consequence of this tough policy.

Finally, it is important to note that this policy and its consequences would not be possible without the bravery, vigilance and dedication of professional police officers in the City of Buffalo and throughout Erie County.”