Witness Intimidation Efforts Fail as Jury Convicts Gunman in Brutal Triple Shooting

Modified: November 13, 2014 3:20pm

10/8/2014

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 42 year-old Ricky Grace A/K/A “Kooter” was found guilty as charged of three counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, three counts of Assault in the First Degree, three counts of Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree after a jury trial before State Supreme Court Judge Penny Wolfgang. These were the highest charges in the indictment and the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted.

On October 26, 2013, on Townsend Street, in the City of Buffalo, Grace, while acting in concert with another assailant, shot Brandon Washington at point blank range in the face, shattering his jaw. Grace then shot at Jovonna Davis, at point-blank range, four times, striking her in her chest. Grace then shot Charles Washington in the back and pelvis as he tried to run away. Grace’s brother, indicted co-defendant Dennis Triplett, allegedly picked Washington up off the ground and allegedly told Grace to “finish” Washington off, as “he ain’t dead yet.” Grace walked up to Washington and fired a bullet into the back of the third victim’s skull. Miraculously, all three victims survived, albeit with serious and debilitating injuries.  

Grace’s efforts to wreak havoc upon society and permanently silence others did not end with these incredibly violent crimes. Due to his needed testimony at a pre-trial hearing, the identity of a prosecution witness was revealed to the defense. An “associate” of the defendant threatened to kill that very witness if he did not recant his testimony, and even supplied the witness with a prepared affidavit recanting his prior testimony. Tellingly, the other witnesses, whose identities were not exposed until the time of trial, were not subject to defense efforts to tamper with and intimidate them. In other words, early disclosure of a witness’ identity directly led to efforts at witness harassment and intimidation at the behest of someone who attempted to murder three human beings.

Shockingly, Grace is no stranger to the criminal justice system, having a previous federal conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine in Federal Court in 1999. Grace remains in custody and faces up to 75 years in state prison when sentenced before Judge Wolfgang on November 26, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

The case was successfully tried by Assistant District Attorney Paul Parisi, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Special Victims Bureau. DA Sedita also stated the following:

“Under current law, a defendant is entitled to pre-trial evidentiary hearings and a wealth of information about the prosecution case early in the process and well before trial begins. Delaying the identification of civilian witnesses until the time of trial is the principal exception to these early disclosure practices. Such an approach correctly balances the right of the accused to confront his accusers in a court of law with the right of witnesses to be free from being harassed and intimidated. This case once again illustrates what occurs when violent thugs are provided with information that identifies witnesses too far in advance of courtroom proceedings.”