Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced today that the Appellate Division (4th Department) of Supreme Court upheld the following homicide convictions.
The appellate court upheld the April 2011 conviction of Jesse Jones. Jones pleaded guilty to Murder in the 2nd Degree, as charged, in connection with the May 2009 fatal shooting of Deaira Wall. After killing Ms. Wall, Jones held her children hostage as the police surrounded the crime scene. The standoff ended, with the children unharmed, after Jones shot himself. Jones recovered and pleaded guilty as charged, but decided to appeal his conviction, despite the fact that he twice waived his right to appeal. Jones is serving an indeterminate sentence of 19 years to life in state prison.
The appellate court also upheld the June 2011 trial conviction of Richard Heary. Along with his co-defendant Robert Bakerx, Heary was convicted of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree in connection with the July 2010 fatal shooting 17 year old Damion Diggs. Both Heary and Bakerx were indicted for Murder in the 2nd Degree but were found guilty of the lesser offense of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree after a non-jury or so-called “bench” trial. Heary is serving a determinate sentence of 16 years in state prison.
The appellate court also upheld the December 2010 “cold case” jury trial conviction of Victor Gaston. Gaston was convicted, as charged, of Murder in the 2nd Degree in connection with the May 1992 fatal stabbing of his estranged wife, Regina Jackson. The victim had been stabbed with a knife and bludgeoned with a hammer. The assailant also doused the victim’s body with gasoline and attempted to set her body ablaze. The case remained unsolved until 2009, when forensic DNA analysis linked the defendant to the murder weapons. Gaston is serving an indeterminate sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
DA Sedita praised the work of the Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad investigators, as well as his trial and appellate prosecutors, stating: “Because of their tireless dedication and professionalism, these killers have been successfully brought to justice and will remain behind bars for a lengthy period of time.”