Witness Tampering Burglar Prosecuted to Fullest Extent of the Law

Modified: October 6, 2015 9:21am

7/20/2015

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 20 year-old Antonyo Armstead of 23 Decker Street in the City of Buffalo was convicted, as charged, of Burglary in the 2nd Degree, after a jury trial presided over by Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk.  This was the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted.

On the morning of August 11, 2014, Armstead climbed through a back window of an apartment located at 104 Oakmont in the City of Buffalo.  While inside, he stole jewelry, a Play Station gaming system, and a DVD player. Armstead, however, was not satisfied: after fleeing the crime scene, he flagged a cab and had the cab driver take him back to 104 Oakmont, so he could steal some more. Armstead went back inside, exiting a few minutes later with 55” flat screen television. Armstead told the cab driver to take him to his girlfriend’s house.

Armstead’s greed and stupidity would be his demise. 

Neighbors witnessed Armstead loading the television into the cab and told the victim when he arrived home.  Buffalo Police executed a search warrant at Armstead’s girlfriend’s house and found defendant fast asleep in bed, with the stolen television in the living room.

Armstead’s “defense strategy” quickly turned to witness tampering and intimidation.

Armstead attempted to “persuade” the cab driver who took him to 104 Oakmont to lie to the court and testify the he had lawfully purchased the television. Unable to persuade the cab driver to lie for him, Armstead then asked his brother and (then) girlfriend to reach out to the cab driver and “handle this in the streets.” Armstead’s girlfriend testified that “handling it in the streets” could either mean threatening the cab driver to not come to court or, if the cab driver didn’t get the message, shooting him.

As if that wasn’t enough witness tampering, Armstead began threatening his girlfriend (a prosecution witness) as the trial approached. Armstead called her ten times over fifteen days and even appeared at her house, lovingly telling her, “bitch you ain’t a snitch” and imploring her, “bitch you best not come to court.”

Armstead is scheduled to be sentenced before the Honorable Thomas P. Franczyk on August 25, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.  He faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison. 

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John P. Gerken, Jr., who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit.

DA Sedita stated: “This case once again illustrates the intimidation and tampering tactics employed by criminals and the principal reason why the identity of witnesses must be withheld from these criminals until the time of trial. This case also demonstrates that defendants who engage in these despicable tactics will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”