Crime

Crime

Federal law enforcement agencies are offering a $10,000 reward in connection with the firebombing of a home in Buffalo last year.

The FBI's Special Agent in Charge Christopher Piehota said a duplex on Mackinaw Street in the Old First Ward had to be demolished after it was damaged by a second arson in May of last year. 

One firefighter was hurt at the scene.  But the victim, a refugee, was not injured. 

Piehota said evidence indicates it may be a hate crime  and investigators need the public's help. 

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

Buffalo police are probing a double stabbing  that occurred late Thursday afternoon near the Erie Canal Harbor Metro Rail Station which has sent to two victims to the hospital.

The attack occurred just as crowds were assembling for the first big music concert of the summer on the downtown waterfront in the 100 block on of Main Street around 3:30 p.m. 

Police have detained one individual in connection with the stabbing.   

The victims were a male and female.  Both were taken to ECMC. It appears the injuries to the female are serious.

City of Buffalo

A Buffalo man is behind bars, charged with possessing and selling firearms. 

Twenty-three-year-old Kareem "Decatur" Howard faces numerous felony gun counts for his allegedly selling the weapons in the Riverside section of the city near the Kenmore line.  Nine guns were seized. 

Howard is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a firearm. He also faces possible federal charges.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says the suspect allegedly transported the weapons from the Decatur, Georgia area.

Former Erie County Legislator David Dale, a disbarred lawyer from Lancaster, faces possible jail time after pleading guilty to a fraud charge.  

Dale, 49, went before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns Tuesday and pled to one charge of first-degree felony scheme to defraud and one count of practice of law by an attorney who has been disbarred.

A man who struck and killed a 14-year-old boy on his bicycle has pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter.  Michael Ettipio had a BAC three times the legal limit when he struck and killed Bryce Buchholz.

A 24-year-old driver who struck and killed a 14-year-old Bryce Bucholz on his bicycle in Lancaster earlier this month pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter in State Supreme Court Thursday.

Chris Caya/WBFO

The Buffalo Police Department has fired one of its own after an arrest this morning by federal law enforcement officials. 

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said former police officer Jorge Melendez, 41, is charged with running a drug manufacturing business out of two warehouses in South Buffalo. Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI arrested Melendez at Police Headquarters. 

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

An Erie County Court  jury has found Dr. James Corasanti not guilty on all of the major charges against him in the death of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.

Jurors returned to the courtroom just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to issue their verdict.

The jury acquitted the 56-year-old Corasanti on second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, resulting death, and tampering with physical evidence.  

Cocaine bust nets 24 arrests

May 30, 2012

A state investigation has yielded two-dozen arrests in connection with two cocaine trafficking operations based in South Buffalo. 

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says 24 individuals have been arrested on narcotics trafficking charges in an investigation dubbed "Operation Babcock."  Babcock the South Buffalo neighborhood in which much of the activity was based. 

Pool photo

Jury deliberations will resume at 9:30 Wednesday morning in the trial of Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst.

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Why were three Erie County Holding Center inmates mistakenly released over the past few months?  Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard went before the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee Tuesday to try to explain. 

In the latest incident a couple of weeks ago, a suspected car thief, Paris Williams, was freed from the Holding Center when another man whose last name is also Williams should have been released.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Former Common Council member Brian Davis pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing $48,000 dollars in federal funds from the City of Buffalo. 

Davis  admitted the crime as part of a plea deal involving his cooperation with investigations at City Hall. 

"Today's developments mark one of the first times, in recent memory, that an elected official has been convicted of actually stealing money in his care," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

Lawyers ask for reduced charges against Corasanti

May 24, 2012
Pool photo

Defense attorneys in the Dr. James Corasanti trial Thursday asked for reductions on two of the three counts to less serious charges.

Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense in the Dr. James Corasanti vehicular manslaughter trial met with Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio Thursday to discuss the charges against Corasanti.

WBFO News file photo

 The Erie County Holding Center has a new way for making bail payments.  The County Sheriff's Office has implemented a cash bail payment system that can be accessed on-line or by phone.

Streamlining the payment process for families and inmates in posting bail has gone high-tech at the Holding Center.

"It opens another opportunity for someone to make bail," said Robert Koch , Superintendent of the Office of Jail Management Division for the Erie County Holding Center.

A convicted purveyor of child pornography has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.  

Twenty-five-year-old Timothy Michael Bek, formerly a teacher at West Seneca West High School, learned his fate today from U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara.  

Prosecutors say more than 13, 500 pictures of child pornography were found stored on Timothy Bek's personal computer.  U.S. Attorney William Hochul says many of the pornographic pictures captured on Bek's personal computer were of a very disturbing nature.

A Carrier Coach bus aide has been arrested by state police and charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault in connection with an alleged attack of a 15-year-old autistic boy.

The suspect is identified as 28 year old D'Andre Robinson of Cheektowaga.

The Buffalo News reports that the incident took place last Friday, May 18, while the bus was transporting students to the Baker Victory School in Lackawanna.

The unidentified boy suffered facial injuries.

 

A Blasdell man faces 5 to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty this morning to several charges connected with a fatal DWI crash on January 28.

Nineteen-year-old Bradley Maloney pleaded guilty this morning to charges of first degree vehicular manslaughter, first and second degree vehicular assault, and driving while intoxicated.

The crash, on Versailles Plank Road in Hamburg, took the life of 14-year-old Angela Keim, and caused serious injuries to two other teenage girls.

Buffalo Police investigating another fatal shooting

May 23, 2012
Google Street View

A Tuesday afternoon, West Side-shooting, makes for Buffalo's eighth gun-related death over the last three weeks.

Police are looking for tips as they search for suspects in the double-shooting at 18th Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

A man in his twenties was pronounced dead at the scene while his female companion was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gun shot wound to the arm.

The Buffalo News reports 105 shooting incidents have occurred this year compared to the same date in 2011 when 60 such incidents had been reported.

Pool photo provided by The Buffalo News

The defense rested its case late Tuesday in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst.

Closing arguments are slated for next Tuesday, May 29. A standard defense motion to dismiss the case was denied by Judge Sheila DiTullio.

In testimony Tuesday, an accident reconstruction consultant testified Corasanti wasn't driving as fast as police estimated the night he struck and killed Alexandria Rice, and that Rice was half-way out of the bike lane at the time.

A Buffalo man has been arrested and charged with assaulting his eight-week-old infant son. 

Buffalo Police investigators were called to Women and Children's Hospital around 2:30 a.m. when the boy's father, 22-year-old Mark Bridenbaker of Indian Church Road, brought in the injured child. 

The boy was found to have internal injuries and a head injury, and Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards says there are indications of previous physical injuries.  He is currently listed in critical condition. 

A Barberville, Virginia airline pilot has been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a concealed firearm for attempting to bring a handgun on a plane this morning at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. 

Piedmont Airlines pilot Brett Dieter was scheduled to fly a plane from Buffalo to New York's Laguardia for US Airways, when a TSA agent noticed what appeared to be a firearm in Dieter's bag.  NFTA Police then recovered a loaded .357 magnum holding five rounds of ammunition. 

Mike Desmond/WBFO

A second Buffalo police officer who is listed as injured on duty has been arrested and charged with mail fraud and health care fraud.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul announced that 50-year-old Patrick O'Mara was put on the injured on duty list in February 2004. After two periods on light duty assignments, O'Mara was back on the IOD list from September 2005 until his retirement on March 31 of this year.

Independent medical examinations indicated O'Mara was not disabled, and he was seen walking without a limp when out of the office. 

Pool photo provided by The Buffalo News

A defense request to dismiss all charges against Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst was denied Thursday.  Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio denied the request by defense attorney Joel Daniels, who was seeking to have all five charges against the Amherst doctor dropped. 

The prosecution rested its case late Thursday morning after calling its 37th witness to the stand. Corasanti is accused in the fatal hit-and-run of Alexandria Rice last July while she was riding on her longboard on Heim Road.  

Victim of MLK Park shooting dies

May 16, 2012

One of the five people wounded during last weekend's shootings at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park has died.

Officials say 26 -year-old Marquayle Lee died late Tuesday night in the Erie County Medical Center intensive care unit. He had been in critical condition.

Lee was the most severely wounded of the group, which was having a picnic in the park Saturday night when a gunman opened fire.  Three other men and one woman were injured.

WBFO News file photo

The investigator who reconstructed the scene where 18-year-old Alexandria Rice was struck and killed stepped down Tuesday afternoon after spending two days on the stand.

Pool photo provided by The Buffalo News

In Erie County Court Monday morning, prosecutors began by laying the groundwork for Amherst Police Senior Accident Investigator Robert McMahon to testify in the trial of Dr. James Corasanti. 

Corasanti is accused of vehicular manslaughter in the July 8, 2011 hit-and-run death of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.

It is day ten of the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti.   The Amherst doctor is accused in the fatal July 8 hit and run of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.

An Amherst Police officer testified Friday about collecting evidence at Corasanti's home. Detective Peter Crofut said one of the first things that was visible on the vehicle was a "palm print" on the hood of the car. 

Pool photo provided by The Buffalo News

Cell phone company records indicate Dr. James Corasanti sent and received nearly 80 text messages the day Alexandria Rice was killed.  But by the time investigators seized Corasanti's phone, most of them were gone.

Amherst Police Technical Services Officer Thomas Barillari testified legal procedures kept investigators from seizing Corasanti's phone until August 1, nearly three weeks after Rice was struck and killed along Heim Road. 

Mike Desmond/WBFO

A former Common Council member who is also employed as a Buffalo Police officer is facing federal charges for allegedly abusing sick leave at his job. 

Police say Robert Quintana, 50, was arrested this morning and charged with mail fraud and healthcare fraud. Quintana has been listed as 'injured on duty' since 2005 and has been receiving full pay and benefits. He had told the Police Department he had severe back injuries from a fall on duty.

The former head of the Wyoming County SPCA has been charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.

Former manager Susan Davila was arrested by state police this morning in the wake of February 15 raids at the Wyoming County facility in Attica and the animal adoption center it ran at the Eastern Hills Mall. More than 300 cats were found in deplorable conditions in the South Creek Road Attica building and some needed emergency medical attention.

Pool photo

Testimony provided in the trial of Dr. James Corasanti Tuesday indicates both the doctor and the victim were texting right around the time 18-year-old "Alix" Rice was struck and killed last July. 

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