Modified: September 1, 2020 12:06pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 40-year-old James Kevin McGonnell and 54-year-old Carol Steinagle of Cheektowaga were arraigned yesterday afternoon before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller on an indictment charging them with the following offenses:
- One count of Kidnapping in the First Degree, a Class “A-1” felony
- One count of Kidnapping in the Second Degree, a Class “B” felony
- Four counts of Assault in the Second Degree, Class “D” felonies
- One count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class “A” misdemeanor.
McGonnell was charged with an additional count of Strangulation in the Second Degree, a Class “D” felony.
It is alleged that between November 2017 and January 2020, the defendants, while acting in concert with each other, abused a child in their home in the Town of Cheektowaga by implementing increasingly horrific forms of punishment against the victim. The defendants are accused of knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child victim.
Over the course of several years, the defendants allegedly forced the victim to stay inside a bedroom or the garage for periods of more than 12 hours with the intent to terrorize the victim. It is further alleged that the defendant’s restricted the child’s movement by confining the victim to a space and threatening to use deadly force if the victim did not remain confined. The victim was allegedly denied access to basic needs, including food, clothing and access to the bathroom.
It is further alleged that the defendants assaulted the victim on multiple occasions with various objects. It is alleged that on one occasion defendant McGonnell strangled the victim, resulting in loss of consciousness.
No further information will be provided to protect the identity of the victim in this case.
McGonnell and Steinagle are scheduled to return on Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. for an initial appearance before State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges who will preside over the case. Both defendants were remanded without bail.
If convicted on all charges, McGonnell and Steinagle face a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
DA Flynn commends the Cheektowaga Police Department and the Child Advocacy Center for their work in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cathleen M. Roemer and Chief Lynette M. Reda of the DA’s Special Victims unit.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.