Jury Finds Defendant Guilty of Raping and Holding Victim Against Her Will Inside Riverside Apartment

Modified: May 5, 2022 3:21pm

5/5/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that a jury has found 31-year-old Bryam D. Bassett of Buffalo 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 this afternoon 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 the morning of Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Buffalo Police officers responded to an apartment in Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood to conduct a welfare check after receiving a 911 call from an employer notifying 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 found 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 the victim 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 earlier. 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. The victim suffered a black eye and bruises to her face and body.

Bassett faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced as a second violent felony offender before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. He continues to remain held without bail.

“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 conviction provides the victim with justice and allows her to continue to heal from the violence she endured. While I understand that it takes a great deal of strength to come forward, I encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic 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 Attorneys Noha A. Elnakib and Justin H. Caldwell of the Special Victims/Domestic Violence Bureau.