Defendant Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter Charge Ahead of Trial for Fatally Shooting Victim on City's Lower West Side

Modified: November 23, 2021 4:02pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 39-year-old Josean Roman-Cruz of Buffalo pleaded guilty this morning before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns to one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree (Class “B” violent felony). The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge ahead of his jury trial, which was scheduled to begin next week.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, at approximately 7:15 p.m., the defendant shot 50-year-old Wilfredo Justiniano multiple times in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Street and Lakeview Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The victim died from his injuries.

Roman-Cruz faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Monday, January 3, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek. He continues to remain held without bail.

DA Flynn commends Detective Sgt. William Cooley, Detective Jay Mayhook and Detective Scott Malec of the Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad as well as the Amherst Police Department for their work on the case.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eugene T. Partridge, III of the Homicide Bureau.