Modified: May 6, 2015 9:23am
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 23 year- old James Williams pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of Burglary in the First Degree before Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka. These are the highest charges for which defendant could have been convicted after a trial. In other words, Williams did not receive a so-called “plea bargain” and was instead prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The acts underlying this conviction arose from a midnight home invasion on May 14, 2014 on Blake Street in the City of Buffalo. Mr. Williams and two of his cohorts broke into a residence at 91 Blake and pulled a firearm on the schoolteacher who lived inside. Scared out of her wits, the schoolteacher remained motionless while Mr. Williams and his accomplices went through the house looking for “a guy who had been there earlier”. Not finding anybody, the men fled the house and drove away in a black Jeep Cherokee.
Unbeknownst to them, a neighbor noticed the men getting into the black Jeep with guns in their hands and immediately called police. When police officers saw the black Jeep and attempted to pull it over, the culprits fled and a high-speed chase ensued across the eastside of the city. The police caught up to the black Jeep when it crashed into a couple of parked cars on Girard Place. The culprits fled from the crashed black Jeep on foot, running through homeowner’s yards toward MLK Park. Williams was apprehended, out of breath with a torn shirt from hopping fences.
An immediate search of Williams’ person revealed a pocket knife that had been used to cut a screen window to gain entrance to the house on Blake Street. The shoes he was wearing were also seized and later compared to the footprints left behind in a bathtub located directly beneath the point of entry window of the invaded house. Through high-tech imprint comparison, a forensic biologist at the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory was able to match Mr. Williams shoes to the footprints left behind in the bathtub.
As it turned out, after Mr. Williams was apprehended, investigating officers determined that he and his accomplices had entered the schoolteacher’s house by mistake. They had actually been looking to rob a purported drug dealer that lived two doors down in a similar-looking house.
Williams faces up to 25 years in state prison when he is sentenced by Judge Pietruszka on May 18, 2015 at 9:30 am.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Eugene T. Partridge, III, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit.