Jury finds man guilty of killing three in Buffalo

By Neale Gulley

BUFFALO, N.Y (Reuters) – A jury on Thursday found a 24-year-old man guilty of what attorneys on both sides called one of the worst mass shootings in the city’s history.

Riccardo McCray was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder stemming from a 17-second rampage last summer when seven people were shot outside of a downtown restaurant.

He faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

Erie County Prosecutor James Bargnesi said the former gang member was responsible for “death and injury on a level this city has never seen” for the shooting, which broke out after an argument at a party inside the City Grill restaurant spilled into the street.

McCray called no witnesses in his defense and did not take the stand. The murder weapon was never found. But grainy video from a surveillance camera captured part of the shootings.

McCray admitted being at a party at the restaurant on the night of the incident, but his defense attorney Joseph Terranova argued that five eye witnesses called to identify his client as the shooter lacked credibility.

“These people are trying to gain some benefit for themselves,” he said during a 40-minute summation on Thursday, referring to some of the witnesses who face criminal charges of their own.

Jurors gasped when, at one point during the trial, video was shown of the shooter stooping to fire a final, fatal shot into the back of one of the victims, a newlywed groom in town to celebrate his marriage.

Bargnesi told jurors the final shot was a “kill shot,” the last of eight bullets he said that McCray sprayed at partygoers in the pre-dawn hours August 14.

The groom, Danyell Mackin, 30, had stayed down after initially being hit, trying to make himself, Bargnesi said.

McCray fled to South Carolina briefly before surrendering 10 days after the shootings at a local television news station. He gave a brief interview admitting he was at the party but denying that he did the shooting. He was arrested on camera.

About 50 prosecution witnesses were called during the more than week-long trial. The jury deliberated for seven hours.

(Reporting by Neale Gulley. Editing by Peter Bohan)

Jury finds man guilty of killing three in Buffalo