Modified: March 31, 2015 3:32pm
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announces the following defendants were convicted for illegally possessing handguns, as well as other offenses, and will serve mandatory state prison sentences.
19 year-old Jacob Melvin of 79 Schuele Ave. in the City of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and to two counts of Assault in the Second Degree before New York State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, Melvin was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On May 1, 2014, Officers Darrin McDuffie and Anthony Fanara, who are assigned to the Strike Force Unit of the Buffalo Police Department, approached defendant on the suspicion he was in possession of a stolen car. When McDuffie asked defendant to turn on the interior lights of the car, defendant threw the car into gear and took off at a high rate of speed. A high speed chase through city streets ensued, ending when Melvin crashed into a fire hydrant. Defendant abandoned the car and fled on foot. After a short chase, McDuffie and Fanara subdued defendant and recovered a loaded semiautomatic pistol from his jacket.
Defendant was arrested and subsequently held at the Erie County Holding Center. On December 20, 2014, a deputy sheriff opened defendant’s cell so that he could eat lunch. Melvin came running out of the cell, took a full swing with a closed fist at the unsuspecting deputy’s nose, and broke it. A second deputy sheriff significantly injured his knee in the process of trying to subdue defendant as he continued to fight and struggle.
Melvin faces a minimum of 5 ½ years and a maximum of 22 years in state prison when he is sentenced on March 18, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. by Justice Burns.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Justin T. Wallens, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau and John P. Gerken, Jr., who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit.
19 year-old Emanuel Stokes of Buffalo pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case. This is the highest charge for which Stokes could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, the defendant was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On the evening of December 4, 2014, Buffalo Police officers Brian Griffin and Nicholas Parisi responded to a disturbance at the Family Dollar on Jefferson in Buffalo. It was initially reported that two men, one of whom was wearing a mask over his face, were acting in a threatening manner and frightening customers and employees inside the store.
Officers arrived almost immediately and observed Stokes, who was the masked man, and another man near the cash register area. Stokes fumbled over his answers to basic questions about his identity, his address, and what his business was inside the store.
Stokes appeared extremely nervous, avoided eye-contact, and shielded the left side of his body from the officer. As the officer looked more closely at Stokes' left pocket, he observed what appeared to be a handgun protruding from it. The object turned out to be a loaded .22 caliber revolver.
Stokes is no stranger to law enforcement or to the courts. Indeed, he possessed an unlicensed and loaded handgun, in apparent preparation for an armed robbery, while out on bail and awaiting sentencing for another robbery conviction. In that case, Stokes attacked a woman on the street and stole her mobile telephone. Stokes ran from the scene with the woman's phone, but was later tracked down by civilians who witnessed the attack, and was held by them until the police arrived.
Stokes returns before Judge Case on March 19, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. for sentencing on both charges and faces a maximum of 19 years in state prison.
The cases were successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James W. Mansour, II, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.
Zedekiyah Z. Johnson
21 year-old Zedekiyah Z. Johnson of Windsor Court in the Town of Amherst pleaded guilty as charged to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree before Erie County Court Judge Michael P. Pietruszka. This is the highest charge for which Johnson could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, Johnson did not receive a “plea bargain” and was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On January 8, 2014 at approximately 7:30 p.m., Johnson was found to be in possession of a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol while at the Shoreline Apartments on Niagara Street in the City of Buffalo. Private security staff employed by the apartment complex observed the pistol in the waistband of defendant’s pants as he exited one of the apartments and was descending a staircase. Upon being questioned, defendant admitted that the loaded pistol was his, claiming that he bought it from “some Spanish dude in the streets” for $200.
Johnson faces a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced on April 15, 2015 by Judge Pietruszka.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael D. Smith, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.