Cheektowaga landlord sentenced for killing tenant

Sep 2, 2015

A Cheektowaga man convicted of second-degree manslaughter will serve five to 15 years in prison for the shooting death of his tenant.

Thomas Szczesniak was sentenced by Judge Penny Wolfgang Wednesday morning for the death of Joseph Lawrence last October. Lawrence was shot after the two argued. Szczesniak reportedly consumed alcohol leading up to the incident.

Szczesniak apologized to Lawrence's family. Speaking in court, Lawrence's mother, Nancy Kimbrough, questioned the alleged friendship between her son and the defendant and said Szczesniak sought trouble by carrying a gun.

"What friend shoots first and asks questions second, as he previously stated? Surely, any person who walks around in public with two fully loaded clips is looking for trouble," said Kimbrough.

Judge Wolfgang originally imposed a 15-year sentence, but after a conference with attorneys that was adjusted to a term of 5 to 15 years.