Man accused of attacking deputy pleads not guilty to all charges

Justin Haffa
Justin Haffa

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Justin Haffa, the man who’s accused of trying to kill a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy, is now facing a longer list of charges.

Haffa was charged with attempted murder and assault after his arrest on September 11. Last week, a Grand Jury indicted him on charges of attempted murder, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, and robbery, according to prosecutors.

Haffa pleaded not guilty to all charges when he was arraigned Monday morning in Chautauqua County Court.

Haffa is accused of using a knife to cut a deputy who was trying to give him a field sobriety test early September 11. The Sheriff said the deputy tried to use her gun to defend herself, but Haffa wrestled it away from her and took off.

Prosecutors say he had the gun on him when he was caught hours later.

Haffa could spend up to 40 years to life in prison if he’s convicted, and acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says his office intends to seek tough punishment in this case. He said he wants to send a message that this sort of crime is unacceptable.

“Our officers in this county are good people. They come to work every day, they want to go home from work every day just like we do. They don’t want these kinds of events happening on a routine traffic check,” Swanson explained after Monday morning’s arraignment. “This didn’t need to happen. We hope this kind of thing doesn’t happen for a very long time.”

Haffa’s attorney, Nathaniel Barone, reminded everyone his client is innocent until proven guilty. “You have to find out what really happened that particular evening,” he said. “I mean all we have right now are statements from different individuals, but when you start sorting through everything and you start taking a good look at everything, things are not as they always appear.”

Haffa’s attorney said he is exploring the option of getting a psychological evaluation for his client, who has no prior criminal record.

Haffa is being held without bail until at least October 3, the date of the next conference in this case. Haffa’s next appearance will be scheduled at that time.

Swanson told Judge Paul Wojtaszek his office was ready for trial.

When asked about the list of charges Haffa faces, Swanson explained Haffa could not be charged with any sort of escape charge in connection to what happened September 11th because he was not technically in custody when he allegedly fled the scene.

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