Defendant Pleads Guilty to Assault and Gun Charges for Three Separate Crimes

Modified: August 3, 2022 2:33pm

8/3/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 27-year-old Wayne A. Smothers of Buffalo pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon before Erie County Court Judge Suzanne Maxwell Barnes to two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class “C” violent felonies) and one count of Assault in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony). The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charge in his three criminal cases.

On May 7, 2020, at approximately 9:40 a.m., the defendant, with the intent to cause injury to another person, shot the victim with a long rifle outside of a home on the 500 block of Genesee Street. The victim, a male in his 30’s, was taken to ECMC with an injury to his leg.

On January 17, 2021, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Buffalo Police officers on routine patrol observed the defendant make an illegal U-turn while driving a vehicle on William Street. The police officers initiated a traffic stop near Fillmore Avenue and found that the defendant was driving with a permit. The vehicle was subsequently impounded. Officers found a loaded handgun inside the center console while conducting an inventory search, which was submitted to the Erie County Central Police Services laboratory for testing. The defendant was linked to the illegal gun through DNA evidence.

The defendant was indicted on felony charges for both crimes. He was arraigned before Judge Maxwell Barnes on June 22, 2021. Bail was set at $25,000 cash, bond or partially secured bond, which the defendant eventually posted.

On April 26, 2022, at approximately 3:47 a.m., Buffalo Police officers responded to a 911 call about a gun on the 100 block of Olympic Avenue. The police officers approached an occupied vehicle that matched the description provided by the 911 caller. The officers saw the end of a Ruger magazine in plain view sticking out from underneath the front passenger seat where the defendant was seated. The loaded handgun was recovered from the vehicle and submitted to the Erie County Central Police Services laboratory for testing. The defendant was linked to the illegal gun through DNA evidence.

The defendant was arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane on April 26, 2022. He was held on $100,000 cash, bond or partially secured bond. The Erie County DA’s Office filed a motion to request that the defendant’s bail be revoked on his prior pending charges. The defendant has been held without bail since his bail revocation hearing on April 29, 2022.

Smothers faces a maximum of 37 years in prison when he is sentenced on Monday, September 26, 2022 at 2:15 p.m. He continues to remain held without bail.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for their work in these investigations.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank A. Strano of the Major Crimes Unit.