HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thursday, a judge sentenced the man who tore apart a family when he killed a manager inside the Toys R Us in Hamburg.
Bernard Grucza made a plea deal with prosecutors, admitting he stabbed Larry Wells inside an office in the toy store. He was sentenced to 25 years behind bars and five years supervision because of the plea deal.
The victim’s wife held back tears as she told the court her two little girls won’t grow up with their father, and she won’t grow old with her best friend like she planned. Jill Wells stood feet from the man who killed her husband.
“I lost my husband, my best friend, the man I love so much. We were to grow old together,” she said. “Our daughter, who was four at the time, lost the best father she could have. They did everything together.”
“Our youngest, who was not even born yet, has to live without meeting her daddy and experiencing his kindness and love.”
Through his lawyer, Grucza said he’s deeply sorry for what happened.
Defense Attorney Frank Housh said, “There can be no rational explanation for what happened. It was a deep, deep tragedy, my client took full responsibility for it, he did not make a cold calculated decision to take Larry Wells life.”
Wells was stabbed to death at the Toys R Us in Hamburg last year. He was stabbed twice, which lead prosecutors to prosecute Grucza for first degree manslaughter instead of murder, which might have been harder to prove based on previous appellate court rulings about intent.
Jill agreed to a 25-year sentence for Grucza. All she wants is her husband back, but knows that will never happen.
Grucza will be sentenced on a federal gun charge next month.