car driver pleads guilty in double slaying
Matt Gryta - News Staff Reporter
man who drove the getaway car following a double homicide earlier this
year in front of an
Ray McDuffie, 22, of
James F. Bargnesi told the judge the families of the teenaged murder
victims agreed to the plea deal. Buscaglia told McDuffie, jailed since
Sept. 13, that he faces a prison term of 15 years when he is sentenced
During the mid-morning plea proceeding Paul S. Piotrowski, McDuffie's attorney, confirmed that his jailed client drove the getaway car.
Gas station worker cut by man stealing beer
A gas station worker was cut Tuesday night when he tried to stop a man from leaving with a stolen beer, police said.
The victim, who works at the Alero gas station at 1225 Broadway, suffered a cut on his forearm at about Tuesday, according to Ferry-Fillmore District police. It was unclear if he received medical attention.
Police reported that the man stole a beer, but when the worker tried to stop him from leaving the store, the man retaliated by cutting him so that he could escape.
The fleeing man entered a gray car, which had been waiting outside the gas station with a woman sitting in the driver's seat. The man and woman then drove away.
Two men unhurt as shots hit
West Seneca police seek crew of thieves
say city homicide victim was targeted
28-year-old man was likely targeted when two armed home invaders shot
and killed him in his Bailey-Delavan area home early today, Buffalo
J. Carter was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he died at 1:01
a.m., about half an hour after the shooting. Police said the two men
forcibly entered the home on Navel Avenue and demanded money, at about
12:30 a.m. Following the shooting, they made off with an unknown amount
of money, fleeing in a four-door, gray 2000 Chrysler 300, with the
license plate EDC-8798.
people were in the house at the time, but no one else was injured.
believe he was targeted," said Buffalo Police spokesman Michael J.
DeGeorge. "The fact that he is known to police, leads us to believe
that he may have been targetted."
show that Kevin Carter has at least 18 convictions in Buffalo City Court
for crimes including harassment, disorderly conduct and driving without
also was convicted of felony attempted criminal sale of a controlled
substance in 1997, according to those records.
with information on the homicide is asked to call the Buffalo Police
confidential tip line at 847-2255, or tips can be sent by e-mail by
visiting www.bpdny.org and clicking on "Report a Tip."
shoot pair after pistol-whipping one
man and woman were shot early this morning during an apparent robbery
attempt inside a
Gray, 23, suffered a gunshot wound to his arm and thigh and was also
pistol-whipped. He was treated in the emergency room at
Moore, 23, of
double shooting occurred at about
inside Gray's upper apartment at 115 Krupp while
assailants used duct tape to tie up
to police reports, Gray also was shot last year. He was shot in the left
hip by an unknown gunman at Gibson and Peckham streets about
Man 'critical' following shooting after house party
Name released of man killed while sitting in car
Teen shot trying to stop attack
An 18-year-old Niagara Street man
and a male youth were shot early Saturday near the intersection of
Breckenridge and Herkimer streets, police said.
At about 1:15 a.m., a group of four
males attacked the youth, pistol-whipping him to the ground.
Fay Street man charged with
A Fay Street man was charged with
first-degree robbery overnight Friday after he forced a man to strip and
took cash from him late Wednesday, police said.
The victim told Ferry-Fillmore
District police that he was at a house on Warren Street when Edwin
Garner, 26, and a second unidentified man who was armed with a handgun
forced him into a room. There, the victim was told to remove his
The men took cash from the victim
and made him lie on the ground for hours, threatening to shoot him if he
shot 3 times at bus stop, survives
27-year-old Stockbridge Street man was shot three times late Friday
while standing at a bus stop at 60 Grider Street, police said.
Wilson, who was treated at and released from Erie County Medical Center
Saturday, told Northeast District police that he was at the bus stop at
about 11:30 p.m. when a man running on Scajaquda Street toward Grider
opened fire, striking him n in the upper left shoulder blade, upper left
biceps and left buttock.
was taken to ECMC. Police said his injuries were not considered
teens charged with robbery, may be tied to rash of burglaries
with the Northwest District are trying to determine whether the six
teens are connected to a rash of burglaries and at least one home
invasion in the Parkside area last week.
thieves broke a back window of a house on the 400 block of Crescent
Avenue. When the owner came outside, the thieves displayed what turned
out to be a toy rifle at the man and demanded money. The thieves then
officers from a special burglary detail arrived, a neighbor told them he
had seen a group of youths jump into a convertible that had been parked
were Melvin J. Young, 16; Phillip Q. Armistead, 18; Brandon C. Williams,
17; Richard C. Young, 17; and two juveniles.
have been charged with first-degree attempted robbery and fourth-degree
Robert Yeates, Lt. Michael March, Officer Darwin Jones, Officer Kenneth
Barney, Detective Magarate Dragone and Detective Patricia Wrest.
Down: 2007 Deadly Year for Police
Law Enforcement Officers Died in 2007 in Line of Duty
PIERRE THOMAS ABC NEWS
year 2007 is turning out to be an especially deadly year for police.
date, 170 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty --
that's nearly a third more than at the same point last year. It's also
17 percent higher than in all of 2006, and there is more than a month
remaining in the year.
fact, this year is on pace to be the worst year for police in decades.
And many of the deaths involve cold-blooded murder.
Caught on Camera
May 11 in
then the unexpected happens. The suspect opened fire, fatally wounding
McKay, before running him over with his car.
another incident in March, New York Police Department volunteer police
Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik trail a suspect who has just
gunned down a bartender. A surveillance camera tape rolls as the suspect
turns, then chases down and executes in cold blood one officer, and then
in Fatal Shootings
2007, police officers are dying at an alarming rate. There has been a 38
percent increase in the fatal shootings of police this year. There has
also been a 15 percent jump in fatal car crashes as police pursue
suspects or race to get to emergencies.
than the year of 9/11, we haven't seen numbers this high since 1978, 30
years ago," said Craig Floyd, chairman and CEO for National Law
Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
say the spike in fatalities mirrors the surge in crime many communities
across the nation are facing -- much of it spurred by heavily armed
gangs and repeat offenders.
concerns police most is that they are encountering on routine patrols
violent criminals who shoot to kill -- often without provocation.
definitely a more brazen cold-blooded criminal on the streets of
the killers are just teenagers.
June in Floyd County, Ind., officers Frank Denzinger and Joel White went
to a house to investigate a domestic dispute between a 15-year-old boy
and his mother.
fired! Officers down, officers down!" White said on the radio
dispatch call, obtained by ABC News. "I'm down, I can't move, other
officer is down. I'm not sure of his status," White said on the
radio dispatch. "Subject's in the house with a rifle, use caution
on approach, he shot us both, he shot us both from inside the house. He
might be coming back to finish us off."
didn't know it but Denzinger was lying nearby, unconscious and dying.
"My leg is, uh, destroyed. I can't move ... I'm losing
consciousness, I'm not sure I'll be able to stay conscious to, uh,
defend our position here," White said on the radio dispatch.
"Stay with us, we do have help on the way," said the
died. The teenager later committed suicide.
survived but recently had to have hip replacement surgery.
Rehabilitation is difficult, but White wants to return to the force.
the increasing risks to their lives, many officers say they remain
committed to their jobs.
my way to serve the community and that's why I got into it in the first
place," White said.
|Article E-Mailed By Detective Raymond Cullinan (retired)|
Buffalo Police Search for Gunman
NEWS 4(Buffalo, NY, December 7, 2007)
- - A deadly shooting in Buffalo has police searching for a gunman
say someone shot a 31-year-old man on Bailey Avenue around 4:30 this
afternoon. The victim later died at ECMC. His name is not being
released. No word on what triggered the attack.
15 Year Old Boy Shot In Buffalo Today
NEWS 4 (Buffalo, NY, December 7, 2007)
- - A 15-year-old boy shot in Buffalo this afternoon underwent surgery
at ECMC tonight.
say a gunman opened fire on the victim in front of a store at Rodney and
Fillmore around 3:45 p.m. this afternoon. The victim's name is not
being released. No word on any arrests.
suspect caught in West Side home invasion
BUFFALO NEWS 12/07/07 11:48 AM
police officers arrested one fleeing burglary suspect early today, after
a group of probably four people staged a West Side home invasion at
gunpoint that sent one victim to the hospital.
robbers, armed with a 9‚mm weapon, entered the Potomac Avenue home,
near West Avenue, at about 2 a.m. They fled with about $90 cash and
fired two rounds as they got into an SUV.
they jumped into the vehicle, that's when our officers caught up to
them," Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said.
Officer Obed Casillas pulled up, the thieves fled on foot. Officers
caught Kevin S. Garner, 41, of Chelsea Place and charged him with
burglary, robbery, criminal use of a firearm and other charges.
other thieves remained at large late this morning.
woman, one of at least three people in the home, was taken to Millard
Fillmore Hospital, where she was treated for unspecified injuries and
released. Police said they had no indication that she or any of the
other people in the home was shot.
detectives began investigating today's home invasion, police officials
said they knew of no connection to another home invasion earlier this
week in another part of the city, on Parkside Avenue near Tillinghast
Place in North Buffalo.
woman not hurt as shots are fired at their car
man and woman sitting in a car escaped injury early this morning when
about four shots struck their vehicle on
District police said the woman was in the driver's seat and the man was
sitting in the front passenger seat at about
when a shooter fired at least eight shots at their car.
shooter ran north through yards towards
Acquaintances pummel man in
Suspect is Shot by Buffalo Police
WIVB TV NEWS 4
suspect was being transported to the holding center tonight after he was
questioned, when he escaped from police custody with handcuffs, but not
for long, the once wanted parole violator is locked up once again.
Police officers from "C" district responded to a call of a
fight on the city's east side this morning; authorities say shortly
after they answered that call, the two suspects tried to get away and
ended up crashing into the officers car. Officers say the suspects
fled once again until abandoning their car and running away on foot, and
ended up on
Burton, PBA Attorney, "The individual took off and in the course of
making an arrest the individual spun on the officer, ignored commands to
put his hands up , the officer thought he saw a gun fired one shot and
hit the individual in the ankle."
the department and the officers attorney say his actions were justified.
Burton, PBA Attorney, "As a general rule what the officer proceeds
to be a threat, and in this instance, the indivual pulled up his
sweatshirt, spun towards the officer and the officer fired when he
thought the person had a gun right at his waistline."
police officers faces a review by the pba, as well as the district
attorney, but is expected to return to work soon.
years later, wife charged in killing
rifle accidentally was fired in bedas husband slept in
Matt Gryta NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Kalinowski claimed two years ago to police that the lights already were
out when she climbed into bed with her sleeping husband at
said that as she got into the bed, she picked up “an unknown
turned out to be a .22-caliber hunting rifle. A loaded one. And it
suddenly went off, firing a shot into the back of her husband’s head.
grand jury convened to review the evidence in the case didn’t buy her
Robin Kalinowski, now 42, wept profusely as she was led away from court
pleaded innocent to one count of second-degree murder in the shooting
death of Kevin M. Kalinowski, 41, her husband of 15 years and the father
of her two sons.
Kalinowski was an avid hunter, fisherman and youth baseball coach who
ran a commercial contracting business with relatives and was a partner
in Drinkwell Products, a home brewing supply company, and Teed-Off
Miniature Golf, which constructed portable mini-golf courses leased or
donated for local charity events.
Kalinowski, who had not been charged in the death until now, had
continued to live in the
Thomas M. Finnerty described in court how a new investigation by the
Erie County district attorney’s office and Buffalo police uncovered a
pattern of inconsistencies in the accounts Kalinowski gave to her
friends and family about what happened that night in their bedroom.
experts recently determined that a videotaped reenactment of how Robin
Kalinowski told police the “accidental” shooting took place did not
jibe with the trauma to Kevin Kalinowski’s head, Finnerty said.
added that at the time of Kevin Kalinowski’s death, Robin Kalinowski
allegedly was having an extramarital affair.
seeking to have her held without bail, Finnerty told State Supreme Court
Justice John L. Michalski that she had been convicted of embezzling more
than $20,000 from a former employer about six years ago.
judge instead imposed bail of $350,000.
the arraignment, Finnerty confirmed that Robin Kalinowski in
mid-November turned down an offer by the district attorney’s office to
appear before the grand jury that was considering the case, provided she
waived the standard immunity from prosecution grand jury witnesses get.
director scout locations for John Cusack film
Sharon Linstedt NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
Factory,” which is set in
Niagara Film Commission chief Tim Clark confirmed Friday the film’s
executive producer and director were in
production’s most senior people were here to get a feel for the city
and form first-hand impressions,”
left with a very favorable view of
of the Cusack movie’s interest in
wouldn’t be plate shots or Bunit photography. They would come here
with cast and crew,” he said.
the bulk of the movie will be filmed on location in
whose film credits run the gamut from 1980s teen flick “Sixteen
Candles” to the 2005 romantic comedy “Must Love Dogs,” also stars
in the soon-to-be-released “Grace is Gone,” an Iraq-themed movie
that won the Audience Award for Drama at this year’s Sundance Film
movie’s executive producer is Don Carmody, whose production credits
include the film version of the Broadway musical “Chicago,” as well
as hit comedies “Porky’s” and “Meatballs.” Morgan O’Neill,
winner of the Australian version of the “Project Greenlight” reality
show, will direct from a script he co-wrote.
Factory” will be produced by Warner Bros. subsidiary Dark Castle
its creation in 2002, the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission has lured a
variety of film, television and advertising projects to
operated under the auspices of
addition to “The Savages” and “Bruce Almighty,” the
commission’s other credits include: “Poultrygeist,” a
horror-musical due out this year, and MTV’s “Sorority Life” and
“Fraternity Life” series.
office also oversaw filming of a key background scene at
this week, it assisted a national auto parts seller in two days of
filming in southern
DeJac freed from jail after judge grants new trial
M. DeJac was released from jail today, hours after a judge granted her a
new trial in the killing of her 13-year-old daughter, Crystallynn
was freed this afternoon after District Attorney Frank Clark said he
does not oppose her being released on her own recognizance.
County Senior Judge Michael L. D'Amico granted the new trial in a
decision released this morning. D'Amico, who presided over the original
trial, also recused himself from a new trial.
result of new DNA testing was cited in the decision to grant a new
court must conclude that if the newly discovered forensic evidence was
available at the time of trial, there exists a reasonable probability
that the verdict in the defendant's trial would have been more favorable
to the defendant," the judge's decision stated.
defendant's motion to vacate the judgment is here by granted and a new
trial hereby ordered."
was tried on two second-degree murder charges in 1994. She was acquitted
of intentional murder and convicted of depraved-indifference murder.
the state's highest court has restricted the use of the
depraved-indifference charge, prosecutors have suggested they will
consider trying DeJac on a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter.
DNA evidence found in Crystallynn’s bedroom after her killing strongly
suggests that DeJac's former boyfriend, Dennis P. Donahue, was in the
room. DeJac’s supporters believe that Donahue, not she, committed the
C. LoTempio, DeJac's defense attorney, said earlier this month: “The
‘21st century fingerprint’ has Dennis Donahue’s prints on this
girl’s dead, naked body. Isn’t it a stretch to say somebody else
sexually abused [and killed] her?”
has letters from two polygraph experts questioning the validity of the
lie-detector test Donahue passed a few days after Crystallynn’s 1993
a fraud,” LoTempio said of such a test. “That’s why it’s not
admissible in court. Sociopaths can pass lie-detector tests, because
they don’t have emotional responses when they lie.”
the polygraph, Donahue contended that he didn’t kill the girl, he
wasn’t at the murder scene, and he didn’t know who killed her,
sources have said.
results of that test help explain why prosecutors allowed Donahue to
testify before the grand jury — providing him with immunity from
prosecution in her killing.
CASE UP-DATE 11-17-2007
Retrial Case Becomes Battleground For Justice
Gene Warner NEWS STAFF REPORTER
war of words broke out Friday over the possible innocence of convicted
killer Lynn M. DeJac, but this time the combatants were public officials
who usually work together — police detectives and prosecutors.
detectives from the
our opinion, after investigating this case and looking at all the
available evidence, Lynn DeJac could not have killed her daughter,”
Detective Dennis Delano said.
person on the street could read the facts available to us and tell that
Lynn DeJac could not possibly have killed her daughter,”
County District Attorney Frank J. Clark also met with reporters Friday,
after filing his motion opposing a new trial for DeJac. She was
convicted of second-degree murder in the 1993 strangling of her
13-year-old daughter, Crystallynn Girard.
can’t refute one single, solitary fact that the jury relied on to
DeJac a new trial might be the popular thing to do, and it might be a
having to rebut fellow members of the law-enforcement community, Clark
lashed out at the police detectives for going public with their
absolutely inappropriate for them to express an opinion on the question
of guilt or innocence, when a matter is still under litigation,” he
said. “They’re now the Delphic oracles in deciding who’s guilty or
tests have shown that Donahue’s DNA was found after the killing in
three spots in Crystallynn’s room: in blood spots on her bed and on
the wall behind her, and on a vaginal swab taken from her body.
three experienced homicide detectives claim the evidence shows that
DeJac would have had to kill her daughter during an 11-minute window,
on the night of
DeJac and her daughter, who had been allies during a previous 911 phone
call that evening, would have had to engage in a violent struggle. Then
DeJac would have had to strangle her daughter, which would have taken at
least five minutes, before stripping her, washing her body down and
going to a nearby bar. All in 11 minutes.
just doesn’t ring true,”
lacked the strength and body size to subdue her daughter for the
five-plus minutes it would have taken to strangle her,
three detectives also seemed swayed heavily by the presence of
Donahue’s DNA in Crystallynn’s room.
do you account for Crystallynn’s blood mixed in with his DNA on the
wall?” Aronica asked. “There’s no legitimate reason why he would
be in her bedroom, or in her body.”
detectives also discounted the notion that Donahue’s DNA could have
been in the girl’s bedroom for days.
blood had to get there during the struggle with Crystallynn,”
Gugliuzza said. “It’s on the wall, and some of it was on her leg. If
it had happened the day before, don’t you think she would have washed
district attorney referred specifically to the new DNA evidence.
is that evidence that he [Donahue] killed her?” he asked. “You’ve
got to show me that he was there when she was killed.”
no question in
bottom line is, in light of the other facts, does it create a
probability that the verdict would be different?” he asked. “They [DeJac’s
defenders] have not demonstrated to my satisfaction that the newly
discovered evidence would create a probability that the verdict would be
more favorable to her.”
he mentioned the one- to two-hour time lag between DeJac finding her
daughter’s body and her call to police. He also wonders why people are
so quick to dismiss the barroom confession DeJac supposedly made to an
acquaintance, containing information that wasn’t known to the public.
saw all the human pathos that surrounded the Capozzi case, and now they
want to transpose that to this and other cases,” he said. “But
they’re not the same. You can’t do it because it’s a feel-good
have to base it on the facts.”
former housing officers named to city’s force
Vanessa Thomas NEWS STAFF REPORTER
former housing police officers were appointed to the Buffalo Police
Department on Monday.
former Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority officers, who were laid off
in June 2005 because of budget cuts, plus two police report technicians,
are now the city’s newest police officers.
14 new police officers are part of Mayor Byron W. Brown’s plan to add
100 officers to the city’s force by lobbying state officials for $10.5
Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson made the new appointments Monday
afternoon during a promotion ceremony in Police Headquarters.
promotions also included Gipson’s first major Cabinet shuffle since he
was named police commissioner in February 2006.
Brian S. Strobele was appointed chief of the South Police District,
succeeding Lt. James P. Shea, who is stepping down so he can be promoted
to captain — a contingent permanent position that is the
department’s second-highest civil service rank.
said he is also departing his role as chief so that he can be with his
wife, who is having surgery.
43, is a 22-year veteran of the force and a lifelong
excited for the opportunity, and I’m going to try to follow his
lead,” Strobele said of Shea.
Fred D. Young, who is one of a handful of African- American command
officers, was appointed acting chief of the Northeast Police District.
said Young is acting as a temporary fill-in for Chief Arturo Salas, who
was injured on duty.
the city’s plan, former Housing Authority officers were the first to
be hired as
25 Housing Authority officers had been laid off. Twenty- four of them
took that test, and 12 of those test-takers accepted a position with the
city’s force, police officials said.
said those officers are taking a three-week refresher course and are
scheduled to be on street patrol by January.
those Housing Authority officers is Thomas G. Zak, who spent a year
working as a
was born and raised in
commended the officers for their commitment to working in the city.
believe firmly that the Buffalo Police Department is one of the finest
police departments in the nation," he said. "In the face of a
lot of frustration and adversity, they do a tremendous job day in and
day out, and I'm sure they will rise to the occasion."
addition to the appointments of Strobele and Shea, the promotions
included: Officer George W. Morlock, who was promoted to lieutenant, and
four officers promoted to detective: Deborah Buyers, Marlin L. Hall,
Christopher F. Sterlace and Patricia N. Wrest.
two former report technicians who took the police test and became
officers are Sherry A. Ebert and Amy J. Frankel.
11 new officers from the Housing Authority are: Thomas G. Zak, Bart A.
Adams, Brian J. Britzzalaro, Ann W. Devaney, Robert E. Eloff, Thomas P.
Feeney, Dennis R. Gilbert, Daniel B. Kurdziel, Craig J. Leone, Richard
P. Manley, Adam E. Oshei and Judith M. Walker.
gets 30 years to life for shooting two police officers
Michael Beebe - News Staff Reporter
Harris Jr. was sentenced to spend 30 years to life in state prison today
for trying to kill two Buffalo police officers in December 2006.
19, who was on probation for attempted robbery at the time, pleaded
guilty in September to two counts of attempted murder for shooting
Officers Patricia A. Parete and Carl E. Andolina.
is the expectation of the court, the recommendation of the court, that
the defendant will never be released from prison," said State
Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.
42, remains paralyzed from the shooting after one of Harris' bullets
severed her spine. Andolina was shot three times as he subdued Harris.
whose attorney, Paul Gordon Dell, said is border-line mentally retarded,
apologized to both officers in a brief statement to the court.
can't take that day back, but I'd like to say I am sorry for what I've
done," said Harris, dressed in a short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.
Ramos, a friend of Parete's, said the officer is thankful for all the
support she's received since the shooting. Parete recently returned to
Buffalo from a rehabilitation facility in West Orange, N.J., and is
living with her partner, Maryellen Opalinski.
taking it one day at a time," said Ramos, adding, "with a
is out of the country did not attend today's sentencing.
and Andolina, who was on a special detail the night of the shooting,
responded to a call of a fight at a gas station at West Chippewa Street
and Elmwood Avenue.
they approached the station, they saw Harris run away from them. When
they pursued him, Harris turned and pulled a gun, shooting Parete twice
and Andolina three times.
robbery suspect arrested in
T.J. Pignataro NEWS STAFF REPORTER
suit-wearing man who claimed to be a federal agent when he robbed the
M&T Bank downtown last month was apprehended in
B. Reynolds, 51, was just released in July from federal prison after
serving 10 years on another bank robbery charge.
whose exact address is unknown, was briefly staying with an acquaintance
entered the bank about
that day and flashed a badge to a customer service attendant. He
identified himself as a federal agent and asked to see a manager.
Reynolds stayed at the bank about an hour and met with two bank managers
during that time. He allegedly displayed a gun, claimed to have placed a
bomb in the bank’s lobby and demanded $100,000.
after the robbery in
Nov. 6, Reynolds resurfaced again, wearing a suit, at the Wells Fargo
claimed to have set an explosive device in the bank and produced a gun.
He apologized to the bank manager and fled with more than $9,000. He was
apprehended minutes later after police tracked down a taxicab in which
he fled. Reynolds later admitted to authorities in
joins search for bank robber who claimed to be a federal agent
T.J. Pignataro NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The FBI is joining
The agencies released bank
photos Tuesday of the afternoon holdup in an effort to solicit the
public’s help in locating the robbery suspect.
The white male in his 50s
wore a black suit, white dress shirt, dark tie and black dress shoes
when he entered the bank and approached a customer service associate
“It got our attention
because it’s so far out of the norm [for bank robberies],” said Paul
M. Moskal, FBI special agent. “The methodology was very well
thought-out in that he actually stayed in the bank almost an hour.”
The suspect initially
identified himself as a federal agent at the customer service desk and
asked to speak to a bank manager. Bank officials told police that the
man even went outside briefly to smoke a cigarette while waiting for the
The manager went outside to
meet the man, at which time he identified himself as a federal agent
“conducting an investigation,” according to FBI officials. He
presented a gold badge and an identification card. The two men then went
to the manager’s office.
There, the suspect showed
the manager a black handgun inside his suit coat and demanded $100,000
in $100 bills, according to reports. He provided a black folder-type
portfolio. The robber told the bank manager he had placed a bomb in the
The two then left the
office and went to a second manager’s desk, where the robber again
identified himself as a federal agent and showed a badge and
identification card while repeating his demand for money.
The second bank manager
then took the robber’s portfolio to teller stations where she
retrieved an undetermined amount of cash in various denominations and
brought it back to the robber in the portfolio.
He took the portfolio and
instructed both managers to return with him to a manager’s office.
Once inside the office, the robber told the two managers to wait for
five minutes. He then closed the office door and left the bank through
The robber was described as
a white male in his 50s, 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall, weighing 175
to 200 pounds. He had reddish- brown slicked-back hair and a graying
issued after impersonators target older women
T.J. Pignataro NEWS STAFF REPORTER
man posing as a cable television employee tried to sexually assault an
elderly woman last week after she let him into her Lovejoy home and
refused to give him the money he demanded.
Monday evening, a man claiming to be a gas company worker attempted to
set up a meeting with an elderly woman in Kaisertown. She called the gas
company, learned he was not an employee and contacted police.
sure you know who you are letting into your house,” said Lt. James
Curtain of the South District. “Make sure they have the proper
credentials, and if you have any questions, call your utility.”
the Lovejoy case, a man claiming to be a cable television installer
the Kaisertown woman received a call at home from a man claiming to be
from the gas company and asking her to meet him at an apartment building
she owned so he could “read the gas meter.”
realized it sounded fishy,” Curtain said.
said police were still looking at similarities in the two situations.
Both occurred after
— after dark — and involved elderly women approached by men posing
as someone else.
had people preying on the elderly,” Curtain said. “That’s
disturbing for everyone, especially the police.”
should look for official company identification and marked equipment
whenever anyone seeks access to their property.
utility employees — such as meter readers — almost always work
during the daytime, according to police.
with information about the two cases should contact
unclear in fatal shooting on
T.J. Pignataro - News Staff Reporter
D. Green, 21, was riding his bicycle at about
on Walden near
men had a brief exchange before several gunshots rang out. Police
confirmed late Tuesday that there were two shooters. Green, who was
struck by the gunfire, tried to escape but collapsed in front of
the limited information
have thus far with the way the events unfolded, it would seem to
indicate Mr. Green was the intended target,” said Dennis J. Richards,
parents are employees of Wende Correctional Facility in Alden,
authorities said. Family members declined to talk when reached Tuesday
were puzzled by the slaying Tuesday. They had no motive. There was no
evidence of drugs at the scene. Green had no criminal record.
also said they have no evidence linking Green’s slaying to the
shooting death of his 31-year-old brother, Steven Barney, in the parking
lot of an Atlanta-area Waffle House restaurant Jan. 9. Barney had
recently moved to
detectives are pleading with the public to come forward with any
information that might help solve the case.
with information is encouraged to contact
Buffalo Police officer today resigned
Buffalo Police officer today resigned from the department as he pleaded
guilty in U.S. District Court to two misdemeanor charges for helping his
brother-in-law attempt to beat drug charges and to swindle $14,000 from
a drug customer.
Funderburk, 42, a police officer since
was first arrested in August 2004 along with 40 other people in a U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration drug bust.
admitted to Judge Richard J. Arcara that while in uniform and driving a
police cruiser, he pulled over his brother-in-law, Frederick Nolley Jr.,
agents said Nolley was on his way to deliver $14,000 worth of drugs to a
customer, who watched him get pulled over and saw the car towed away.
admitted that he and Nolley agreed beforehand to take part in the ruse.
Nolley pleaded guilty Oct. 1.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Clare Kane said Funderburk will be sentenced on March 5.
survives his third shooting
Hunter is apparently a survivor.
was outside his home Wednesday, when he was confronted by a man, who
pointed a gun at him.
told police that the gunman was trying to rob him and he fought with the
gunman, who opened fire. That shot punctured through his left thigh and
entered into his right leg.
was treated in the
months ago, Hunter was shot in his bedroom on July 15 when the woman he
was with let a gunman inside.
said the woman walked to the door and opened it for a man waiting
outside. When Hunter tried to fight the gunman, he shot him in the left
leg, just below the knee, according to police reports.
gunman and the woman then ran out of the house. At the time, Hunter was
treated in ECMC and later discharged.
was walking near 14th and
was treated in
Side slaying is teen's fourth felony arrest this year
arrest of a Gibson Street teen Tuesday in connection with a murder on
the city’s East Side is his fourth felony arrest in about eight
D. Rogers, 19, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of
20- year-old Derell B. Henley of Eggert Road at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday
at a gas station at the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Sycamore Streets.
Henley was struck multiple times and later died of his injuries.
suspect drugs motivated the killing. Henley, who was at the gas station
to pay a phone bill, had cocaine on him when he was killed, police said.
of Rogers’ recent arrests — involving his alleged possession of a
loaded firearm on March 3 and possession of cocaine with the intent to
sell on June 17 — are awaiting grand jury action, according to City
those felony charges, Rogers also was arrested on felony cocaine
possession with intent to sell on July 25 and misdemeanor possession of
marijuana and criminal contempt on June 6.
detectives were flanked by top police brass and Mayor Byron W. Brown at
a Wednesday afternoon news conference to announce Rogers’ arrest. They
expressed surprise that Rogers was out on the street at the time of
Buffalo Police Department is doing our job in making arrests and ridding
the streets of the criminal element,” said Dennis J. Richards, chief
of detectives. “It is frustrating at times when the bad guy is
released before the officer has finished his paperwork.”
was arraigned in City Court on Wednesday and is expected to return to
court Tu esday morning.
Cameras To Go Citywide
use of crime-fighting tool is given Council OK
Brian Meyer NEWS STAFF REPORTER
unanimously approved Mayor Byron W. Brown’s request to buy 60
electronic eyes, surveillance software, a monitoring trailer and other
system also will be able to provide free high-speed Internet access to
computer users in areas where the cameras are installed.
said he is optimistic
should be installed in 60 locations throughout the city by February,
Brown predicted. The Internet-access feature will likely be activated by
the end of 2008.
the past 12 weeks, the city has been testing seven cameras in various
neighborhoods. The main purpose of the pilot project has been to gauge
the effectiveness of the technology — not to nab criminals.
clarity is amazing,” Brown said Tuesday, noting that the cameras can
provide detailed images of faces and even license plates.
also can be programmed to recognize certain menacing activities, such as
someone aiming a gun at another person.
enforcers currently are analyzing crime statistics and other trends as
they finalize a list of sites where the cameras will be installed.
going to be data-driven,” said Brown when discussing the locations of
the cameras. “We’re not going to be pulling things out of the
complaint patterns also will be factored in, said First Deputy Mayor
Steven M. Casey, who has been working closely with the Police Department
on the surveillance effort.
President David A. Franczyk, whose Fillmore District has one of the
highest crime rates in the city, said it remains to be seen whether the
cameras will be effective deterrents. But he said many residents are
anxious to see the devices installed. He hopes some sites will include
areas around community centers and senior centers.
other action, the Council unanimously agreed to let the incoming owner
Lodging Advisory & Investment Group plans to invest at least $3
million to update mechanical systems in
M. Tobe, the city’s economic development chief, said the good thing
about the deal is that the city doesn’t have to give a single
concession to a new owner that he described as “a first-rate
Adam’s Mark is situated on property owned by the Buffalo Urban Renewal
Agency. It pays annual rent of $52,360 a year and has the option to
purchase the land from the agency for $748,000.
40-year lease on the hotel garage runs through May 2023 and provides the
city monthly rent of $20,440. The revenue offsets the costs of bonds
used to build the garage. The lease gives the hotel owner the option of
buying the ramp for $2.5 million.
gun outside bar to cost man eight years
Leroy Avenue man was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for
firing a gun outside a crowded downtown nightclub.
Laing, 22, who has been jailed since a jury on Aug. 17 found him guilty
on felony weapons charges for the incident outside the Town Ballroom,
did not comment during the sentencing before State Supreme Court Justice
Russell P. Buscaglia.
Brian K. Parker said Laing had been ejected from the Main Street bar
about 3:30 a.m. Jan. 1 and was arguing with security guards and standing
in an alley next to the nightclub when he pulled out a .22-caliber
pistol and fired a single shot near the guards.
one of the security guards fired a single warning shot and Laing angrily
refused to drop his weapon, Buffalo Police Officers Joseph Gramaglia and
Joseph Ruggiero arrived and quickly arrested Laing and seized his
handgun, Parker said.
Officer Patty Parete Back in
officer faces ‘great adjustment’
T.J. Pignataro NEWS STAFF REPORTER
A. Parete, the
42, who can speak clearly but has little ability to move her arms or
legs, has been undergoing rehabilitation in the Kessler Institute for
Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J. The center confirmed Tuesday she had
suffered severe injuries to her spinal cord in the
was shot twice. The first bullet struck her bulletproof vest, but the
second one struck her in the chin, traveling through her body and
lodging in her spine.
members, fellow officers and friends who kept in contact with Parete
were aware she might be returning home this week. However, her arrival
Tuesday was apparently known to but a few.
her arrival back in
think she just has a desire to kind of have some privacy as she goes
through this,” said H. McCarthy Gipson,
a great adjustment on her part.”
said Parete officially remains on injured-on-duty leave from the
department. He said police brass and city officials are continuing to
make arrangements to aid Parete in the continuing care that she will
require now that she is home.
in late summer suggested Parete was able to speak clearly, was on a
regular diet and had been off of a breathing ventilator for up to 16
hours per day — using the ventilator only for sleeping through the
that time, she displayed some movement in her shoulders and muscle
movement in her upper arms but was still unable to move her arms or
legs. She used her chin to operate a joystick on a motorized wheelchair.
who know Parete continue to be positive about her chances for recovery.
worked her way off the ventilator, which is a giant step in the right
direction,” said retired Police Lt. John P. King, a friend of
Parete’s who stays in touch with her. “We just keep hoping and
praying for her.”
star falls due to coke
25 years in federal prison
Dan Herbeck NEWS STAFF REPORTER
former high school basketball star who made big money selling cocaine in
Curry, 36, formerly of
the terms of his guilty plea, Curry agreed to forfeit $800,000 worth of
cash, real property, firearms and other assets to the federal
former state and local allstar with the Turner-Carroll High School
basketball team, Curry pleaded guilty in January to one of the most
serious felony charges in the federal code, engaging in a continuing
arrested, Curry was attempting to purchase more than 60 pounds of
cocaine from an undercover officer posing as a drug supplier.
agents worked on the case with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task
Force, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
was a bright, athletic guy who had so much going for him, but chose to
make his millions selling coke,” said Buffalo FBI spokesman Paul M.
Moskal. “Now, he’s taking a very hard fall.”
suspects arrested in
also seize weapons and cash
Stephen T. Watson NEWS STAFF REPORTER
on Saturday seized drugs, weapons and cash during a raid that targeted a
major area drug supplier, city officials announced.
people were arrested at a
is a bad day for the drug dealers but a good day for the residents of
Police narcotics investigators and a member of the attorney general’s
Organized Crime Task Force spent months investigating drug dealing on
said Elliott Fuentes, known on the street as “the Godfather,” and
Reinaldo Torres, who is Fuentes’ father-in-law, are major suppliers to
lower-level drug dealers.
has come up in many investigations and we have been unable, until today,
to make a dent in his operations,” Police Commissioner H. McCarthy
Saturday, narcotics investigators executed several search warrants at a
residence in the 500 block of
who is 34; Torres, 53; Enrique Quiaras, 23; and Sandra Martinez, 55; all
of whom live at the Plymouth Avenue address, were arrested.
is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal
use of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of a weapon.
raid turned up one kilogram of cocaine with an estimated street value of
$100,000, seven ounces of heroin with a value of $50,000, $60,000 in
cash, two handguns and one shotgun and six vehicles — all seized by
investigators from the Narcotics Unit were: Lt. Thomas Lyon, Sgt. Thomas
Vivian and Detectives Thomas Doctor, Edward Niemann, Johnnie Walker,
Kevin Maloney, Joseph Cook and Sharon Acker. Investigator Michael
McParlane from the Organized Crime Task Force assisted.
more collaborative efforts you have that are successful, the more
inroads you make in combating this problem,” Steven M. Cohen, State
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s chief of staff, said prior to the news
24-year-old Amherst woman apparently went unsuspecting to the
M. Flagg was hired by Kevin R. Baker, 39, as an escort, police sources
said. She arrived at Baker’s
who jumped out of his apartment and injured his feet trying to flee
police, later confessed to Buffalo police he was high on powder cocaine
when he killed her.
a rather bizarre set of circumstances,” Erie County District Attorney
Frank J. Clark said. “She was in a room, bound and clothed, and died
from having something shoved down her throat.” “He apparently shoved
something down her throat in an attempt to get her to stop screaming.”
funeral will be held at
today in Amigone Funeral Home,
who is scheduled for a felony hearing in City Court this morning, was
still being treated late Wednesday in the
is charged with seconddegree murder and criminal possession of a
murder in a residential neighborhood near
to police sources, Flagg was driven to Baker’s apartment by a man she
knew, who waited in a car in the parking lot during her visit.
appears like he accosted her the minute she came into the room,” said
appeared to be on a mission to find a woman that night.
understand that [Flagg] may not have been the only person he called that
responded to Baker’s apartment at
Saturday after receiving a 911 call about a woman screaming.
police knocked on his apartment door, Baker jumped out of his upper
window, but officers apprehended him a short time later in a nearby yard
who had a passion for animals, is survived by her parents, Gary and
Susan, siblings, grandparents and fiance. Her father, Gary, told The
Buffalo News that he was too distraught to talk about his daughter.
just want to heal,” he said during a brief telephone conversation.
“I don’t think we want any publicity on this . . . The police
didn’t tell us much about what happened . . . Right now, we’re just
trying to heal and her fiance’s in shambles.”
remains unclear whether Baker previously knew Flagg, or if he had just
met her that night.
Central District Officers Allen Gallagher and Sean Buth took Baker into
custody, he had scratches on his neck and told police he tried to
“hurt himself earlier.”
police questioned him further, Baker replied: “Because I made a big
mistake.” He later admitted that he “really hurt Jillian.”
has a record of previous run-ins with the law.
September 2005, Baker was visiting a
dragged her off the couch, dragged her down the hall to a room, threw
her on the bed and straddled her,” said
girl ran to another room where she told her father and police were
was “highly intoxicated” at the time of the attack, and
pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment in February 2006 in
also has previous convictions for driving while intoxicated in
Buffalo 's violent crime drops by nearly 20%; property crime up 6%
Statistics show homicides
down by more than a third from ’06
crime in the City of
is a major reduction in the number of homicides, which have dropped by
more than one-third from the same period in 2006. So far this year,
there have been 39 homicides in
the eight counties of
the City of Buffalo, besides homicide, the number of rapes has decreased
by 11 percent, robberies are down by nearly 22 percent, and aggravated
assault dropped by 18 percent. Property crimes, however, showed an
increase of more than 6 percent.
brass in the Buffalo Police Department say the figures aren’t news to
weren’t surprised at all because we’ve been looking at it,” said
Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson. “We’ve been monitoring the
numbers. We meet every two weeks to review them.”
crime declined by about 18 percent in
to the state’s figures, 1,630 of the 2,003 recorded violent crimes in
police officials in
rank-and-file officer is doing a real good job,” Gipson said.
“We’ve aggressively gone after the street-level drug dealers.
We’ve obtained information to get guns off of the streets.”
narcotics unit itself has executed more than 850 search warrants this
year, more than doubling its number from a year ago, Deputy Police
Commissioner Daniel Derenda said. In the three years before that, the
unit conducted between 100 and 200 such searches each year.
are going to be more than 1,000 this year, and it seems like it’s
having a dramatic effect,” Derenda said. “There’s just a more
aggressive tone out there.”
said the drop in the number of homicides may be a partial readjustment.
in 2006, the number of homicides soared to 74 — the highest since the
record-breaking year of 92 in 1994. Gipson says the spike was believed
to be the result of increased police enforcement of drug activity that
led to turf wars between rival drug gangs.
Falls Police Superintendent John R. Chella recently spoke about the
statefunded Operation IMPACT — Integrated Municipal Police Anti-Crime
Teams — crimefighting program as the reason for the dramatic reduction
in violent crime there.
have been proactive to make sure guns are not out there and there is an
unwillingness for gang members to carry guns out in the open,” Chella
said. “We’ve been very proactive in making arrests.”
crime also went down in most other counties of the region, including
about 39 percent in
crime was down by 5 percent overall for the first half of the year, led
by decreases in rapes, robberies and car thefts of at least 10 percent.
Serial Killer in WNY?
been fourteen years since
Son's arrest leads mother on a 22-year journey of faith
(AP) — Mary Capozzi looks for a moment at the white kitchen door as if
she is seeing once more the policemen leaving through it, with her son,
Police had been to the house a day or two before looking for a tank top, shorts, a ski mask, a gun — the tools of a rapist who was striking victims in the city's Delaware Park.
"Go ahead and look anyplace you want," Mary Capozzi had told them. Not only was her Anthony not a rapist, he wouldn't be caught dead in the gym clothes police described. Not Anthony, with his crisp, white shirts and trousers pressed so particularly that she had to take extra care so the crease didn't fall too sharply on his shoes.
"My son was afraid of a needle this big," the slight, feisty mother of five said, holding her thumb and index finger two inches apart. "He would never own a gun."
But now, two officers were here in
her kitchen, leading away 29-year-old Anthony as she and her husband,
Albert, watched, panic-stricken. It was her middle daughter, Kathy's,
"Don't worry, Mom," Anthony told her. "I'll be back."
She believed him. And waited — for technology not yet imagined, for people whose names she did not yet know — for the next 22 years.
Capozzi was sentenced to 11 2/3 to 35 years in prison on two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of sexual abuse and two counts of sodomy.
"Please don't take comfort in
the fact that Anthony Capozzi has been convicted of these two crimes,
because he didn't do them," Capozzi's attorney, Thomas D'Agostino,
told women through news cameras that converged after the verdict.
"Don't feel that you can go running without company in
Hope that the legal system would save Capozzi was quickly fading.
His mother had already put her faith in something bigger.
Every day after her son's arrest, Mary Capozzi prayed inside Holy Angels Church, a 150-year-old sanctuary with two soaring steeples a block from her home. Seven days a week, there were rosaries and novenas to Our Lady of Hope, prayers for her son's freedom and for peace for her, for her Anthony.
"You have to have faith," Mary Capozzi, now 75, says. "You've got to have something to hold on to."
She would pass that faith on to Anthony during the heartbreaking prison visits that went on year after year.
"Dad, what am I still doing here? I didn't do anything. I didn't hurt anyone. I wouldn't do anything to hurt a lady," the son would say to his father, who was 59 when the visits started, 81 and white-haired now.
It was his wife's faith in her son that strengthened his own when doubt would creep into his thoughts, Albert Capozzi says. His son had shown signs of mental illness, after all, and three victims seemed so sure it was him.
"But my wife said no. My son never did that," Albert Capozzi said. "She made a better person out of me because of that."
Anthony Capozzi spent 15 years at
His mother's prayers continued through them all, and through other family trials: two daughters' battles with breast cancer, another's with multiple sclerosis.
"We told Anthony, we're a big family and we've got to stay together," Mary Capozzi said, "because you stay together, you're strong. Pull apart, you break and you're nothing."
Every two years beginning in 1997, Anthony Capozzi appeared before a three-member parole board, but his family learned quickly not to get their hopes up.
To be considered for release, Capozzi would have to complete mandatory sex offender programming — something that would have required him to admit to the crimes and show remorse.
"Ant," his younger brother, Albert Jr., would say, "just say that you did it because if you say that you did it, you're going to get out."
"I can't," came the reply. "I didn't do it."
Five times, parole was denied.
A sixth parole hearing was
D'Agostino and a second lawyer, a parole expert named Norman Effman, had built what they believed was a strong case for Capozzi's release. It was based on the January arrest of a man whose DNA linked him to three murders and at least eight rapes from 1981 to 2006.
Two of the so-called "Bike Path Rapist's" crimes, in 1981 and 1986, occurred in the same park where Capozzi was accused of attacking women, and the description of the crimes was similar. In all the rapes, victims said they were surprised from behind or as the rapist ran by them, and the assailant told victims to wait 10 or 20 minutes before fleeing.
Snapshots from the 1970s and '80s of Capozzi and newly arrested Altemio Sanchez show similar dark hair and mustaches. The men are a year apart in age.
The parallels were enough to convince a half dozen detectives working the Bike Path case that Sanchez — a married factory worker who raised two sons while Capozzi was locked away — was responsible for all the park rapes.
"We thought we had a reasonable shot at parole," Effman said.
(Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to three murders. He cannot be charged with the rapes because the statute of limitations has passed.)
With the hearing approaching, there was a stunning find.
DNA evidence from Capozzi's
alleged crimes — evidence no one knew existed — was located at
No one has been able to explain why law enforcement did not know of the hospital's large catalog of glass slides that had been part of victim rape kits dating from 1973. The cache came to light only after a police officer working other unsolved rapes, on a hunch, asked the hospital whether such evidence might exist.
"The DNA was not of Anthony Capozzi," Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark announced five days before the hearing. "It was Altemio Sanchez."
"I don't want anybody to take this away from me," Mary Capozzi said that day, as she reveled in the news with her family at a daughter's hair salon.
The next day, Mary Capozzi returned to Holy Angels church to set flowers before the Blessed Mother. "Just a little token for her for what she's done for me and my family and for my dear, dear son."
Within days, Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman threw out Capozzi's conviction and ordered him freed. Twenty-one years and 201 days after he was first imprisoned.
The Capozzis were reunited at the
On Easter, parishioners applauded
the family at
"I'm not angry at all," said Capozzi, now 50, his dark hair close cropped and graying. "I'm glad to be home ... It's all over now."
For his mother, there is sadness over time lost and memories of the empty ache of absence at so many holidays and birthdays.
But overriding are happy vows to make up for all of that — and then some.
Because his schizophrenia must be treated, Capozzi will likely live in an assisted living setting.
Throughout their neighborhood, blue vinyl ribbons rustle on trees and telephone polls. Neighbors tied them there as a welcome home for a returning son, and as thanks to the heavens for a mother's answered prayers.
2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redis
evidence that exonerates Capozzi stored at ECMC all along
Testing Available Since ’90s DNA from ’83, ’84 rapesmatches Sanchez, DA says
By Maki Becker NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 03/29/07 6:34 AM
|“Have you ever felt pure joy in your heart?” Albert Capozzi said Wednesday, after he and his wife, Mary, learned their son may soon be free.|
innocent man who has been in prison for almost 22 years after being
wrongly convicted of two
“At last, he’s been vindicated,” said Thomas C. D’Agostino, the defense attorney who represented Anthony J. Capozzi during his trial and has been fighting for his release ever since.
“He’s always said he didn’t do it,” D’Agostino said.
Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark made the stunning announcement during a packed news conference Wednesday morning that not only did the newly found DNA evidence prove that Capozzi was innocent — but that it matched the DNA of the alleged Bike Path Killer.
DNA was not of Anthony Capozzi,”
Experts say the technology to analyze such DNA evidence has been available since the mid-1990s.
Sanchez, arrested in January, has been indicted in three murders and has been linked through DNA to a series of rapes of women on bike paths and other secluded spots throughout the area.
Capozzi, who is currently in prison at Marcy Correctional Facility, is expected to be granted parole when he goes before the Parole Board next week, based on the new evidence and letters of support from the district attorney and police officers who reopened his case, D’Agostino said.
Capozzi already has gone before the board five times, but his refusal to admit to the rapes has led to his being denied parole.
D’Agostino also is filing a motion to have Capozzi’s conviction vacated, and
path to Capozzi’s vindication began as detectives on the Bike Path
Rapist Task Force, who helped catch Sanchez, came across Capozzi’s
case as they pored over paperwork from old rape investigations.
The case caught their attention because the rapes Capozzi was accused of committing occurred in
The investigators already had conclusively linked Sanchez to two other rapes in the park: in 1981 and 1986.
Detectives Dennis A. Delano and Lissa M. Redmond continued to look into the Capozzi case, even after Sanchez’s arrest, and began raising questions about whether the wrong man had gone to prison.
Simultaneously, D’Agostino was working with
But time and again, the investigators, D’Agostino and Clark kept running into a wall — the shared belief that there was no physical evidence that could point to Capozzi’s innocence or guilt.
Capozzi, who resembled Sanchez at the time of the
The best anyone hoped for Capozzi was for the Parole Board to take into consideration the developments in the bike path investigation when Capozzi came up for parole next month.
But that all changed on one snowy day shortly after Sanchez’s arrest as Evans Police Detective Lt. Samuel V. De- John drove in the Southtowns with Amherst Detective Eddie Monin. While not on the official task force, they, too, were investigating unsolved rapes with possible connections to the Bike Path Killer, including one in 1977 in Evans.
DeJohn recalled lamenting to Monin that his department had thrown out physical evidence from that investigation — leaving no chance of testing for traces of DNA that could connect it to the Bike Path Killer.
Monin had a suggestion: “Did you ever think that maybe ECMC retained some of that stuff? You never know.”
DeJohn called the hospital and learned, much to his surprise, that the hospital did, in fact, have a huge catalog of glass slides, taken as part of standard rape kits performed on victims, that dated back from 1973 and went up to 2002.
The hospital did not have a slide for the 1977 victim, DeJohn said.
But DeJohn said he decided to e-mail Deputy District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III to let him know — just in case he didn’t — that these slides existed.
It appears that no one in local law enforcement had any idea that these slides existed, although there had been rumors about the possibility of old evidence lingering at ECMC and other hospitals.
No one got any results, according to
“Then, it was like ‘open sesame,’ ”
ECMC attorney Anthony J. Colucci III said he is not aware of any law enforcement agencies having asked for slides until the hospital was sent a subpoena via e-mail March 16.
He also said he does not know of any other subpoenas for the slides or any other attempts by law enforcement officers or lawyers to obtain the evidence.
The March 16 subpoena included a long list of slides and other possible physical evidence connected with the investigations of attacks on several rape victims, including the women involved in Capozzi’s case.
The hospital was ordered to produce the evidence by March 20, Colucci said.
“We were digging around like crazy,” he said. “People came in over the weekend, even though they didn’t have to.”
The slides from the victims of the rapes for which Capozzi was convicted, along with those of other victims that police were interested in having analyzed, were submitted March 20.
D’Agostino said Capozzi and his family are not ready yet to consider whether they might pursue any kind of civil action against the county or the hospital for his wrongful incarceration.
“I have no doubt that we will be deluged,” he said.
Woytash, too, said he does not understand why there was so little information available about the slides.
“All I can say is that when I was asked — and that was just a couple of weeks ago — that’s when we said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ll look for so-and-so’s slide.’ ”
Woytash, who has been at ECMC since 1999, said he cannot recall ever being asked to find the slides for investigations. He said there might have been some confusion because rape kits are now handled exclusively by the countyrun Central Police Services forensic lab.
“I don’t think its anyone’s fault,” he said of the lack of communication over the slides, but he said he is ecstatic to help exonerate an innocent man.
“Unfortunately, in my line of work, you see every sad case that’s possible,” he said. “This is one of the times when you really make a difference.”
Retired police officer dies
Hurt when car hit his motorcycle
By Dale Anderson NEWS
PO Edward L. Penkalski & PO Jeffrey Moody
|driver struck him on his
motorcycle on Route 16 in the Town of
Penkalski, known as “Pinky” to his many friends,
had been in a coma since he had a seizure Feb. 16, his sister Cyndee
Stelmach said. He also had suffered from a severe bed sore and recently
developed viral meningitis with a high fever.
“He was fighting so hard for the last few weeks,”
his sister said. “His body was so tired. It just shut down.”
Penkalski spent about two weeks in a coma and four
weeks in ECMC’s intensive care unit after a driver failed to yield the
right of way and slammed into his bike on Nov. 28. Surgeons took out a
significant portion of his skull, putting it in his abdomen to keep it
alive. It was still there when he died, his sister said.
A previously arranged benefit to help cover his
medical costs will be held from
on Sept. 16 in one of his favorite
spots, the Lafayette Tap Room,
As a police officer from 1983 to 1999, when he injured
his knee jumping a fence in pursuit of a suspect, he was sometimes
called “George Carlin” by his fellow officers for his relentless
sense of humor and his physical resemblance to the comedian,
particularly his blond ponytail.
He developed a famous and sometimes stormy partnership
with another high-energy cop, Officer Jeffrey Moody. Once Penkalski
drove off from a crime scene in their patrol car, leaving Moody to find
his own way back to the station house. Moody died from an illness in
Motorcycles — Harley-Davidsons — were
Penkalski’s passion. His mother recalled Wednesday that he once had
four motorcycles in their garage, displacing the family cars.
In retirement, he traveled regularly by motorcycle to
“He said it was the best thing he ever did,” she
Surviving are his parents, Edward A. and Roberta; two
sisters, Cyndee Stelmach and Eileen; two sons, Edward J. and Thomas; a
daughter, Theresa Maciejewski; and his fiancee, Debra L. Brucato.
||Retiring Officers are Part of
Buffalo Police History
By Vanessa Thomas NEWS REPORTER
When two of the city’s most senior police officers recently retired, they took with them a piece of Buffalo Police history and a total of 83z years of experience
Lt. Jacob Ulewski and Detective Joseph Biehunik, who will be honoredat their retirement party Thursday, spent their careers arresting burglars, rapists, drug dealers and cold-blooded killers.
|Over the past 40 years, they have done everything
imaginable on the police force: assisted federal agents with the largest
cocaine seizure (275 pounds) in Western New York history; participated
in a 1z-year undercover sting to catch pawn shop scammers; broke up
sophisticated burglary rings and embezzling schemes; and helped to
recover more than 50 stolen artifacts from the Buffalo Museum of
And then there was the terrifying night that Ulewski was shot in the head — but lived to tell his story.
Ulewski, 66, a great-grandfather, was the second most senior member in the police department.
Biehunik was the third most senior police officer and, at 69, the oldest officer in the city.
“They served Buffalo really well and served as role models for the younger officers,” said Lt. Thomas Masterson, a friend and colleague of Ulewski’s and Biehunik’s for more than four decades.
“They won all kinds of awards, and they’re all-around excellent policemen,” he said. “The police department and the citizens are suffering a big loss.”
Ulewski and Biehunik also are best friends, and they retired together on June 29.
If a history book on the city’s most notorious crimes could be written, Ulewski and Biehunik would author some of the more interesting chapters.
They recently took a trip down memory lane and talked about their very first police assignment: working as patrolmen at Ash and Sycamore streets.
“You really learned your trade there. . . . There were two to three shootings a day — just in our district alone,” recalled Biehunik, who joined the precinct in 1967 at age 28.
Precinct No. 4 was just one square mile — from Ellicott Street to Jefferson Avenue and from South Division Street to East North Street. Back then, Time Magazine called it the nation’s most deadly area with more murders per square foot than anywhere in the country, Ulewski recalled.
“We had a high population. It was the smallest precinct in the city, but it was the busiest house in the city,” said Ulewski, who joined the force in 1963 at age 22. “We had the big gangs — Manhattan Lovers, Mad Dogs, Pythons. . . .”
“I used to have my windows shot out and the red lights on my [police] car shot out all the time,” recalled Biehunik.
On May 7, 1984, Ulewski was struck by one of those bullets.
During a standoff at a Seneca Street building, a gunman shot Ulewski, prompting Ulewski’s fellow SWAT team member to kill the man.
That was the only time in the history of the Buffalo SWAT team that a person was shot and killed.
“When I was shot, I didn’t think anything of it,” said Ulewski, who was an officer at the time of the shooting. “I thought it was just a graze. The doctor said, ‘No. It wasn’t a graze. The bullet ricocheted off your skull. If it penetrated, you would be a vegetable.’”
“That’s when the realization hit at how lucky I was,” he said. “I owe the man upstairs one.”
Ulewski and Biehunik are perhaps best known for their work in the Burglary Task Force.
For more than a decade, they worked in the unit, using their hightech skills and technological abilities to crack sophisticated burglary rings, thefts and embezzling schemes.
Their unit also helped recover the three stained-glass windows stolen from the Allendale Theatre.
In February 1993, a U.S. Customs agent called Ulewski, requesting help to stop a pickup truck that was driving from New York City to Buffalo carrying 275 pounds of cocaine hidden inside compartments underneath the truck bed.
The Burglary Task Force crew stopped the truck near a Transit Road gas station in Lancaster, and federal agents later arrested two New York City men.
“We followed it and put a kill switch on the truck so it would stop and the engine would die,” explained Biehunik. “The whole squad took part, and we used a remote control.”
It was those technological skills that really got them noticed.
In the 1990s, they ran an 1z-year undercover operation, running a fake pawn shop with the help of three FBI agents.
They rented a storefront, built a fake pawn shop and equipped a secret back room with video surveillance equipment — all in a bid to catch thieves who were trying to sell their stolen goods.
“It was so good that a senior FBI boss said to us, ‘So, when are you going to build that secret room?’ and I told him, ‘You’re leaning on it,’ ” recalled Biehunik.
Their zest for police work is ob vious. They frequently use police jargon in their conversations, and they still get that boyish twinkle in their eyes when they talk about the job they love.
“I’ll miss the people,” said Ulewski. “The job is never the same; it’s always different.”
“I worked with a bunch of officers who took pride in doing their job,” added Biehunik. “They feel for the people, and they care about the people of this city.”
Commissioner Ralph V. Degenhart
|Commissioner Ralph V. Degenhart will be celebrating his
90th birthday, born on July 19th 1917 in Buffalo, NY, attended Riverside
High School, two years Pre-Law at Canisus College, three years of
Business Administration at University of Buffalo worked as a mechanic at
Curtiss Aero Company before joining the Buffalo Police Department.
Appointed to the Buffalo Police Department on April 9th 1941, Ralph V.
Degenhart rose through the ranks obtaining the highest Civil Service
rank of Inspector in 1966. As Inspector he served as Chief of Detectives
until his appointment of Deputy Commissioner in 1978. Ralph V. Degenhart
was appointed Commissioner of Police on May 1st 1985 by then Mayor James
Commissioner Degenhart retired from the Buffalo Police Department on August 1st 1992 with 51 year of service at the age of 75
Hurt In Motorcycle Crash
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 08:48 AM - WBEN Newsroom
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Buffalo cop Carl Andolina, shot in the line of duty last December, has been hurt again, this time in a motorcycle crash.
Amherst police say Andolina was riding on North French near Campbell late last night when a teenage driver cut him off. Andolina and his passenger were thrown, and Andolina suffered a serious injury to his leg. He is in ECMC. His passenger was admitted to the same hospital with a head wound.
The 17-year-old car driver was ticketed for driving past 9pm, and failure to yield.
Andolina was honored by the TV show "America's Most Wanted" in May in an All Star balloting competition among "hero" cops and firefighters. He and his partner, Patty Parete, were shot late last year. She continues her recovery in a rehab center in New Jersey.
Officer sets off on path to become a professor
T.J. Pignataro NEWS STAFF REPORTER
years ago, Buffalo police Capt. Brian D. Marren scored the top mark on
the police entrance exam.
the 42-year-old South Buffalo native is trading in his badge to pursue
another prestigious scholastic achievement: a doctorate in English
history at the University of Liverpool.
Liverpool. Over the pond. The birthplace of the Titanic and the home of
always liked learning,” Marren said. “And if you want to study
British history, you go to Britain.” Marren, long known by his friends
and colleagues as a jokester who “kept things light around the station
house,” will endeavor to write a dissertation that identifies the
effect deindustriali zation had on the English working class in the late
1970s and early 1980s.
will retreat into three years of study comparing his theories with those
posited in “a seminal work” by English historian and socialist E.P.
Thompson, who penned “The Making of the English Working Class” in
books sound big and heavy. And Marren can’t wait.
always wanted to be a professor from back when I was an
undergraduate,” he said, eager to trade the murder and mayhem of the
naked city for a quiet library and a corner pub. “I’ve always wanted
to do it. And it’s something I can do — I’m only 42.”
who is unmarried and one of three sons born to a working- class family,
was only 22 when he became a Buffalo police officer. The 1982 Bishop
Timon High School graduate had spent a couple of years working at
different jobs and studying at the University at Buffalo when he took
the police exam.
needed money. I thought it might be a pretty cool career. Cops chased me
around half my life, so I figured I could too,” Marren joked.
earned the top score on the test. When work schedules began to interfere
with classes, Marren left UB. He returned in 1999, finished his
undergraduate degree and then stayed to earn a master’s degree.
lifelong ambition took a two-decade detour through the Buffalo Police
Department, but many of his colleagues are thankful it did.
became lifelong friends with the people he worked with
said Lt. Michael A. March, partner to the rookie Marren in 1987.
Lt. William P. Blake, another of Marren’s old Precinct 16 pals:
“He’s a loyal friend. Brian was a guy that was even-tempered, gave
the average guy a break, kept the station house loose and never took
himself too seriously.”
jolly, curly-haired bloke has an omnipresent smile but a
self-deprecating soul. Not only was he coaxed into an interview about
his retirement, but he still blushes about the August 1991 Officer of
the Month award he shared with his partner, the late Norman Appleford.
was a legend. Norm did all the work on that one,” Marren insists,
although both were credited for chasing down and apprehending a murder
suspect in an East Side attic.
Saturday send-off party is planned for Marren in South Buffalo. He
departs for Liverpool June 28. He will begin research on his
dissertation in early October.
the time I’ve known him — 20 years — he told me [being a
professor] was what he was hoping to do. Now, he’s going to achieve
it. He’s going to achieve his dream. I think he’s an inspiration to
all of us,” March said.
legacy is his education — he was always going to school,” said Sgt.
William J. Crawford. “Maybe call him ‘the police professor.’ ”
Blake: “It dispels the myth of policemen just going to the corner bar
to tell their stories after they retire.”
An offer of free televisions turns out to be arresting
contrive a reverse sting operation to lurethose sought on warrants to
By T.J. Pignataro
Updated: 05/30/07 7:28 AM
You hear police agencies warning the public against scams offering money and free prizes all the time.
the Buffalo Police Department reversed the charges against alleged
criminals with their own scam — better known as a “reverse sting
criminal warrant scofflaws wanted by Buffalo police received a blue card
in the mail last week promising a “20-inch flat screen LCD TV”
provided they show up in person to collect “their winning prize” at
the Buffalo Convention Center.
suspects wanted on more than a dozen warrants — most of them felony
charges — fell for “The Blue Moon Giveaway” and were arrested and
taken into custody.
come to us instead of us going out to get them,” said Dennis J.
Richards, chief of detectives. “As far as the Buffalo Police
Department, this is the first-ever reverse sting we’ve run at the
the promise of winning a television set, the cards that were mailed out
to the warrant suspects also made them “eligible for a $5,000 Cash
Grand Prize Drawing.” The event was promoted on the convention
center’s Web site and a sign outside the convention center Tuesday
welcomed “Blue Moon Winners.”
apparent winners — or, warrant fugitives — were greeted inside the
atrium of the convention center by a staff of undercover police
officials who obtained their post card, proper identification and,
unbeknownst to the alleged perpetrators, confirmed their wanted status
by computer in the arrest warrant system.
ecstatic “winners” were then escorted upstairs where their
excitement was quickly soured when they were greeted by Buffalo police
officers and realized there was no television set to be won.
they came in they believed they were getting a TV,” said Michael J.
DeGeorge, special assistant to Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson. “But,
when they got upstairs, they realized they’d be going to jail.”
idea was the brainchild of Deputy Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
While the idea may sound sneaky, police officials said they diligently
confirmed that their actions were legally sound under state and federal
law before engaging in the operation. The reverse sting does not
constitute entrapment because it does not induce the fugitive to commit
any crime. Rather, it lures them into police custody by promising free
of those apprehended Tuesday were upset over the police trickery, but
Richards said police are just doing their jobs.
unfortunate we have to be put in that position [of chasing down criminal
warrant suspects],” Richards said. “We’re always looking at
innovative and creative ways of combating crime in the city of
called the operation “mildly successful” but pointed out they did
catch suspects wanted for a variety of crimes including felony criminal
mischief, criminal contempt and endangering the welfare of a child.
woman was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after she
was found to be carrying a crack pipe when arriving to claim her prize.
officers who served in
Vanessa Thomas NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Marine Cpl. David Sugg returned home after a one-year tour of duty in
the Vietnam War, he remembers seeing anti-war protesters spitting on
then, they’d spit on you and call you a baby killer because no one
wanted the war,” recalled Sugg, who returned from the war in 1970 at
the age of 20.
never forget how this country treated us when we came back. We didn’t
ask to go. We were sent there by the
Sugg is a detective with the Buffalo Police Department’s Narcotics and
is one of dozens of
Vietnam Memorial Plaque will include the names of all police officers
— retired, deceased or currently working — who served in
Memorial Day on Monday, organizers believe the plaque is a fitting
tribute for these unsung heroes.
is long overdue,” said Detective James Lema, who, along with Lt.
Kenneth Bienko, is organizing the plaque tribute. “They risked their
lives for this country, and then they came back to risk their lives as
policemen. They put their lives on the line twice for this country.”
and Bienko, who are both assigned to the city’s Homicide Unit, have
spent the past year compiling a list of officers whose names will be
inscribed on the plaque. So far, 40 have been collected.
urge any officer who served in
know there has to be more names out there,” Bienko said. “Some of
them may have been over there and just didn’t publicize it.”
joined the Navy in 1969 but did not see service in the war.
joined the Marines at age 18, just after graduating from
then it was a dangerous time, and a lot of guys lost their lives,”
Sugg said. “I remember when I came home and reconnected with friends
who didn’t go in. We were the same age, but it felt different. I felt
hardened. . . . We grew up quicker and faster.”
joined the Police Department in 1971, after receiving an honorable
discharge from the Marines in 1970.
36-year-veteran of the force serves as commander of the Hostage
great to see this country do a complete turnaround and really honor
these veterans and stand behind these guys,” Sugg said. “[Bienko and
Lema] are doing a fantastic job getting all these names and finally
Brown, Gipson laud anti-crime unit
|Gipson, top brass hit the streets in support of rank-and-file officers
By T.J. PIGNATARO
Buffalo News Staff Reporter