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Shootings Down 38% in City of Buffalo as September Continues to be Painful Month for Armed Thugs


09/20/2013

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III today announced the following convictions for Weapons’ Possession offenses committed in Erie County. None of the following defendants had a license to carry a handgun. All of the following defendants will serve significant state prison sentences.

On September 2, 2013, 24 year-old Damon Erving pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On March 29, 2013, Erving illegally possessed a loaded handgun while at “Buffalo Live” nightclub on Main and Minnesota in the City of Buffalo.  Assistant District Attorney Patrick Shanahan successfully prosecuted the case. Erving faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge DiTullio October 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

On September 5, 2013, 27 year-old Gary Redd pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On April 13, 2013, in the vicinity of High and Jefferson in the City of Buffalo, Redd discarded a loaded handgun as he fled from Buffalo Police officers Mark Hamilton and Mike Acquino. Assistant District Attorney Seth Molisani successfully prosecuted the case. Redd faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Justice Burns on October 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 9, 2013, 37 year-old Pharoah Sanders pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Senior Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On March 10, 2013, in the City of Buffalo, Sanders jettisoned a loaded handgun as he fled from Buffalo Police officers Craig and Guilian. Assistant District Attorney Seth Molisani successfully prosecuted the case. As a second felony offender, Sanders faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 5 years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge D’Amico on December 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 12, 2013, 70 year-old James Grey pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio. On December 20, 2012, in the City of Buffalo, New York State Troopers assigned to the Strike Force pulled over Grey’s vehicle and found him to be in possession of hydrocodone pills and a loaded handgun. Given his age, Grey was not made to plead guilty to the highest possible charge; however, a condition of Grey’s plea to a lesser offense is that he serve at least 4 years in state prison. Assistant District Attorney Sara Ogden successfully prosecuted the case. Grey faces at least 4 years and up to15 years in state prison when he is sentenced by Judge DiTullio on November 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 13, 2013, 38 year-old Wilson Tardi pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree and Petit Larceny before Senior Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On January 9, 2013, Tardi shoplifted merchandise from the Walden Ave. Target in the Town of Cheektowaga. In the course of their investigation, Cheektowaga Police Officers discovered a loaded handgun inside of Tardi’s vehicle. Assistant District Attorney Justin Wallens successfully prosecuted the case. Tardi faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge D’Amico on December 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 16, 2013, 24 year-old Adam Marrero, III pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On March 11, 2013, while working as a parking valet at South Buffalo Mercy Hospital, Marrero stole a loaded pistol from the console of a truck. Detective Leo McGrath solved the case and Ryan Haggerty successfully prosecuted it. Marrero faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Justice Buscaglia on November 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

On September 16, 2013, 24 year-old Michael Nance pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On November 13, 2012, in the City of Buffalo, Nance chucked a loaded handgun as he fled from Buffalo Police officers Beyer and Sharpe. Assistant District Attorney Brian Langenfeld successfully prosecuted the case. Nance faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Justice Burns on December 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 17, 2013, 36 year-old Damone Savage pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On January 18, 2013, in the vicinity of Delavan and Newburgh in the City of Buffalo, Savage cast aside a loaded handgun as he fled from Buffalo Police officers Mark Hamilton and Mike Acquino. Assistant District Attorney Rene Juarez successfully prosecuted the case. Savage faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Justice Buscaglia on November 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 18, 2013, 27 year-old Justin Smith pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Acting State Supreme Court Justice William Boller. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. On March 6, 2013, in the vicinity of Cornwall and East Ferry in the City of Buffalo, Smith cashiered a loaded handgun as he fled from Buffalo Police officers Christopher Pliszka and Jonathan Pietrzak. Assistant District Attorney Seth Molisani successfully prosecuted the case. Smith faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Justice Boller on October 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 18, 2013, 19 year-old Robert Moore and 22 year-old Bernard Byrd pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case. Moore and Wilson also pleaded guilty to Robbery in the 2nd Degree. On July 28, 2013, on Minnesota St. in the City of Buffalo, Moore and Byrd, in the course of  committing an armed robbery, were both shot by the victim’s father.  Assistant District Attorney Paul Parisi successfully prosecuted the case. Moore and Byrd face mandatory minimum state prison sentences of 3½ years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge Case on October 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

On September 19, 2013, 22 year-old Melvin Virgil and 20 year-old Khaled Yaghi pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree before Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio. On December 19, 2012, in the vicinity of Richfield and Abbot in the City of Buffalo, Virgil and Yaghi approached 53 year-old woman at gunpoint in an apparent effort to abduct her. The would-be victim activated a panic alarm and the assailants fled, only to be caught by Buffalo Police Officer Sean McCabe (whose brother is a prosecutor) with a loaded sawed-off shotgun in their possession. Assistant District Attorney Michael Felicetta successfully prosecuted the case. Having been twice convicted of robbery, Virgil faces mandatory minimum state prison sentences of 5 years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge DiTullio on November 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM. Having been convicted of 8 felonies in the states of New York, North Carolina, and Texas, Yaghi also faces a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of 5 years and a maximum state prison sentence of up to 15 years, when sentenced by Judge DiTullio on November 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

DA Sedita stated the following: “Nearly all of the foregoing cases were made prosecutable by the work of police officers who bravely confronted, and in many cases chased down, gun-toting thugs. With rare exception, the Office of the Erie County District Attorney does not offer a so-called “plea bargain” when it comes to the unlicensed possession of a loaded handgun. Since the adoption and enforcement of this no-plea policy, hundreds of felony convictions have been obtained and hundreds of felons have gone to state prison. Consequently, these criminals cannot shoot anyone, nor can they menace the law abiding citizens of a civilized society. We believe that aggressive and professional police work, our aggressive no-plea policy on gun cases on the state and county level, and the aggressive federal prosecutions of street gangsters under United States Attorney William Hochul, are the principal factors that best explain the dramatic decrease in shootings in the City of Buffalo.”