Landlord’s case to go to grand jury

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An Erie County Grand Jury will take up the case against a landlord accused of murdering one of his tenants. Thomas Szczesniak waived his right to a felony hearing Wednesday.

Police said he shot 54-year-old Joseph Lawrence outside a house on Woodell Avenue in Cheektowaga last Friday. Lawrence later died at ECMC.

Investigators said three men were arguing in the driveway before the shooting. A defense attorney said there’s more to the story.

Defense Attorney James Auricchio said, “I think we’re going to hear a much different side of the story than what’s been presented. If they do a thorough investigation we’re going to hear a much different narrative than what the police department has.”

“These men, from what we can see, were acquainted with one another. They were friends on some level. And something went wrong,” said James Bargnesi, assistant Erie County district attorney.

Szczesniak is charged with second-degree murder.

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