Modified: March 2, 2017 11:13am
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court will hear an appeal of an appellate court decision which reversed the murder conviction of 29-year-old Matthew Kuzdzal of Buffalo.
In September 2014, an Erie County jury found Kuzdzal guilty of Murder in the Second Degree and Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child, after a two week trial before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns.
The jury found that the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on September 15, 2013, Kuzdzal fatally beat and sexually assaulted 5-year-old Eain Brooks, who was the child of Kuzdzal’s then girlfriend, Nora Brooks.
Kuzdzal was serving his 50 years to life sentence, but in November 2016, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, reversed the conviction, ruling that the judge in the case should have inquired of two jurors allegedly overheard outside of the courtroom calling the defendant a “scumbag.”
“We look forward to the opportunity to show that Justice Burns acted properly when he determined the witness who claimed to overhear the jurors was not credible,” says DA Flynn. “We are confident that justice will prevail in the end.”
Justice Burns ordered Kuzdzal remanded to jail without bail during the appeal process.
In the event that the appeal is denied, the DA’s Office intends to re-try Kuzdzal on both counts.
Colleen Curtin Gable, Chief of the DA’s Homicide Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Matthew B. Powers of the DA’s Appeals Bureau are prosecuting the case.