A 25-year-old man was arraigned in Erie County Court Tuesday morning, charged with Second Degree Murder in the shooting death of his roommate's boyfriend inside an apartment on May Street in Buffalo last summer.
The suspect, Dydisci Martin, entered a plea of not guilty and is held without bail. He's accused of fatally shooting 48-year-old Leon Nelson, Jr. on July 28 of last year, then hiding the body in the basement of the house.
Prosecutors say Martin was sharing the upper apartment with Nelson's girlfriend at the time. District Attorney John Flynn says the girlfriend had gone out of town on the day the murder occurred.
"She was trying to contact her boyfriend over the weekend on her cell phone and was unsuccessful in reaching him," Flynn said. "When she came back late Sunday night (July 30) and he was still missing, she became concerned."
So, too, did the victim's family. By Monday, July 31, 2017 police received a missing persons complaint and after searching the May Street house found Nelson's body hidden in the basement.
Martin was arraigned before Judge James McLeod in Erie County Court. McLeon, a Buffalo City Court Judge who is filling in with County Court cases, explained another judge will soon be assigned to this case.
If convicted, Martin faces 25 years to life in prison.
The courtroom was filled to capacity, with many of Nelson's relatives in attendance. Brian Bryant, the victim's uncle, spoke on the family's behalf outside the courtroom.
"We had a very large hole in our heart, the family has, for the last ten months," Bryant said. "Thinking, wondering, praying that whoever the individual or individuals that were responsible would soon be brought to justice. This is the start of bringing the justice. Closure has started."
"We have an idea of what the motive is but obviously I can't talk about that now as I want to bring it up at trial," said Flynn, who also answered "yes" when asked if he was satisfied that the suspect is the only one allegedly involved in the murder.
Flynn did not readily know if Martin has a criminal record but explained he would not discuss it, in order to prevent the possibility of tainting this case.