Citing video from transit authority cameras, defense attorneys today said Riccardo M. McCray was not one of the two gunmen exchanging shots that left four dead and four wounded outside the City Grill restaurant last August.
Following a delay in a pre-trial hearing, attorney E. Earl Key stressed outside the courtroom that "Mr. McCray was not firing a weapon" during the incident.
Key and co-counsel Samuel P. Davis said they will prove through prosecution evidence, including Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority video of the shooting scene, that there were two shooters exchanging gunfire as the downtown restaurant was vacated early last Aug. 14.
Key, whose comments were disputed by prosecutors, said crime scene video will prove "there's no question there were two shooters," neither of whom was McCray.
A pre-trial hearing on the admissibility of statements McCray made to police after his Aug. 25 arrest was adjourned this morning by Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio to Dec. 23 after prosecutors obtained three new video discs from WIVB-TV.
Prosecutors James F. Bargnesi and Mary Beth DePasquale told the judge the district attorney's office did not learn until Ch. 4 broadcast additional footage of the crime scene Monday night that more tapes existed.
Key and Davis, complaining about alleged prosecution footdragging, accepted a copy of the new tapes without acknowledging their value to the pending case now set for the start of a jury trial March 14. The tapes reportedly pertain to both the shooting scene and McCray's surrender after being taken to the TV station by community activist Darnell Jackson.
After today's court session, Bargnesi, when pressed on the two-shooter claims, stressed that this is only the defense's contention. Bargnesi, chief of the Erie County DA's Homicide Bureau, noted that McCray is "the one accused of the deaths and injuries."
McCray, 23, a former street gang member, faces a possible life term with no chance of parole if convicted.
He is charged with fatally shooting Danyell Mackin, 30; Willie McCaa, 26; Tiffany Wilhite, 32; and Shawntia McNeil, 27. He's also charged with wounding James Robb, 27; DeMario Vass, 30; Shamar Davis, 30; and Tillman Ward, 27.
By Matt Gryta, firstname.lastname@example.org, NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Source: The Buffalo News