A Cheektowaga man was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of second degree murder, it has been reported. The 54-year-old man was arraigned on Dec. 16 for an incident that allegedly occurred in October in Cheektowaga. According to Cheektowaga Police Department officials, the alleged victim was the accused's tenant. Witnesses reported that, following an argument, the landlord shot his tenant, also a 54-year-old man, in the abdomen while both were standing in the tenant's driveway. The tenant was transported to Erie County Medical Center by emergency personnel on the night of the incident, where he reportedly died from his injuries.
Officers have not disclosed what the men were arguing about prior to the shooting or if the accused has a criminal history. If the landlord is convicted of the second degree murder charge, he will face a prison sentence from 25 years to life.
Individuals who are charged with violent crimes such as murder face extremely long prison sentences if they are convicted as charged, sometimes without the possibility for parole. Criminal defendants have numerous constitutional rights at their disposal, however, including the right to defend against the allegations.
When facing murder charges, the accused may benefit from the representation of a criminal defense lawyer who will review the evidence and police reports to determine the ideal course of action in the case. One possible strategy may be to plead self-defense. For example, if the landlord was first attacked by his tenant in this case, causing the landlord to reasonably fear he was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, he might have grounds for a self-defense plea. In that case, a jury might return a not guilty verdict based on the self-defense claim.
Source: WIVB, "Landlord arraigned on murder charge", Emily Lenihan, December 16, 2014