Innocent Man Exonerated While Guilty Party Convicted

Modified: October 21, 2013 10:10am


Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that 49 year-old Donald Clark was convicted, as charged, of two counts of Burglary in the Third Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree after jury trial before Erie Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia.

On November 29, 2012, Clark stole a pickup truck and drove it to Lovering Street in North Buffalo where he proceeded to break into the garages of two separate homeowners, stealing property inside.  Neighbors alerted police to a suspicious person in the area and when Buffalo Police responded to the scene, they apprehended Clark walking away from a burglarized garage carrying a stolen property down the street in the middle of the night. Clark is no stranger to the criminal justice system; he has 3 prior felony burglary convictions to his “credit.”

Another citizen, Christopher Fonville, was also arrested for and charged with these burglaries. Further investigation revealed that Fonville had nothing to do with these crimes and the charges against him were dismissed before an indictment was lodged. 

Both cases--Fonville’s exoneration, as well as Clark’s successful prosecution--were handled by Assistant District Attorney Eugene Partridge. DA Sedita stated: “The principal duty of a prosecutor is to achieve justice, which means the exoneration of the innocent as well as the conviction of the guilty. Because of ADA Partridge’s ethics and professionalism, justice was not only achieved, but achieved twice.”

If he is found to be a Persistent Felony Offender, Clark faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Justice Buscaglia on October 15, 2013.