Buffalo Man Receives the Maximum Sentence for Raping and Holding Victim Against Her Will Inside Riverside Apartment

Modified: June 28, 2022 2:15pm

6/27/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 31-year-old Bryam D. Bassett of Buffalo was sentenced this morning before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to a determinate sentence of 50 years in prison followed by 25 years of post-release supervision. The defendant was sentenced today as a second violent felony offender.

On the morning of Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Buffalo Police officers responded to an apartment in the city’s Riverside neighborhood to conduct a welfare check after receiving a 911 call from an employer who notified police that the victim had not appeared for work for two days. Officers encountered the defendant inside of the apartment and found the injured victim inside of a bedroom. The victim was taken by ambulance to ECMC to undergo a rape kit and receive treatment for various serious physical injuries, including a fractured vertebra.

The investigation revealed that the defendant held the victim inside of the apartment against her will since Sunday, May 5, 2019. Over the course of three days, the defendant raped and physically assaulted the victim. He also took the victim’s cell phone, which prevented her from calling for help.

Investigators also uncovered that the defendant, who was in an intimate relationship with the victim, committed a similar crime a few weeks prior. Between Friday, April 19, 2019 and Sunday, April 21, 2019, the defendant held the victim against her will inside of the apartment by physically assaulting her. For several hours during that time period, the defendant physically held the victim against her will by binding her to a chair and leaving her alone inside of a closet.

A jury found Bassett guilty of two counts of Rape in the First Degree (Class “B” violent felonies), one count of Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree (Class “E” felony) and one count of Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor). The jury rendered their decision after two days of deliberation following a 6 ½ day trial, convicting the defendant of the highest sustainable charges in the indictment against him on May 5, 2022.

“This is one of the most horrific cases of intimate partner violence that has been prosecuted by my office. This defendant was found guilty for his crimes that involved physical imprisonment and sexual violence. I hope that this defendant serving maximum period of incarceration provides the victim with justice and allows her to continue to heal. While I understand that it takes a great deal of strength to come forward, I encourage anyone who is a victim of intimate partner violence to ask for help. My office and the BE SAFE Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Program will continue to be a resource for all victims,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.

The BE SAFE Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Program specializes in advocacy within the criminal courts. While staff work within the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, it is a separate and distinct program with victim advocates available to provide trauma-informed support and resources to anyone impacted by domestic violence. While the program primarily works with victims who are navigating the criminal justice process and rebuilding their lives following the arrest of the offender, you do not need to have a pending criminal case to speak with an advocate and access services.

For more information on the BE SAFE Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Program, call 716-858-4630 or visit www.erie.gov/besafe.

DA Flynn commends Detective Mark Costantino and Officer Justin Ayala of the Buffalo Police Department for their work in this investigation as well as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at ECMC and victim advocate Nichole Haffa.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Noha A. Elnakib of the Special Victims/Domestic Violence Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Justin H. Caldwell of the Narcotics/Intelligence Unit.