No Plea Bargains for Defendants Who Possess and Sell Illegal Guns

Modified: October 7, 2014 3:00pm

9/11/2014

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announces the following convictions for the illegal possession and/or sale of handguns. All of the defendants pleaded guilty as charged before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case and all were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, without receiving a reduced plea.

22 year-old Megan Hubbard-Riley and her 36 year-old boyfriend, John Lawandus, each pleaded guilty as charged to three counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree. Hubbard-Riley and Lawandus are heroin addicts who resided in East Aurora with Hubbard-Riley’s mother. Over time, the couple stole from Hubbard-Riley’s mother virtually everything that wasn’t bolted down or sealed shut. Once the defendants discovered a hidden collection of handguns in the East Aurora residence, they naturally stole them and, over a two month period, sold them to City of Buffalo ne’er-do-wells for heroin. Shockingly, one of the handguns was used in the June 26th shooting of an innocent bystander outside of Allentown’s “Old Pink” bar. Deverick Petty stands indicted for Assault in the First Degree in connection with that incident. Hubbard-Riley and Lawandus each face up to 21 years in state prison when they are sentenced by Judge Case on October 22, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eugene T. Partridge, III who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit. DA Sedita lauded the investigation by East Aurora Detective Pat Welch as well as Buffalo Police Department Detectives Craig Leone, Earl Perrin and Jason Mayhook.

36 year-old Arthur Braggs pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. On July 10, 2014, while on Davidson St. in the City of Buffalo, Braggs ostentatiously brandished a handgun in broad daylight. Buffalo Police Officers Dennis Kessler and David Barczak responded immediately to 911 calls and found Braggs in possession of a loaded and unlicensed .38 caliber revolver. Braggs labeled himself a “moron,” a remark one would have difficulty disputing not only because of the manner in which he committed his most recent felony, but also because of his previous conviction for Robbery in the First Degree.  Braggs is thus a Second Violent Felony Offender and faces a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced by Judge Case on November 24, 2014.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Patrick Shanahan, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.

ADA Shanahan also successfully prosecuted 18-year old Jaequan Smith-Devers, a resident of 356 Landon Street in the City of Buffalo. Smith-Deavers pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in connection with an incident that occurred on May 20, 2014. As Buffalo Police Officers approached Smith-Devers that day, he chivalrously and surreptitiously attempted to place his unlicensed and loaded handgun into the purse of his 15 year-old companion. Smith-Devers faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced January 7, 2015 before Judge Case. 

Finally, 21 year-old Stefon M. Richardson of 145 Amherst Street, Buffalo, pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. On April 19, 2014, Richardson met an associate in a backyard of the Bennett Village apartment complex to show off his recent prized possession: a defaced pistol.  A concerned citizen alerted the authorities and Buffalo police officers arrived so quickly, that they foiled Richardson’s futile efforts to hide the unloaded gun in a garbage tote and make an escape. Richardson faces a minimum of 2½ years and a maximum of 7 years in state prison when sentenced by Judge Case on October 20, 2014. 

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Seth T. Molisani, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.