Former Carnival Worker Pleads Guilty to Felony Murder for Role in Death of Medina Comic Book Collector
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Donald R. Griffin, 37, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to committing a murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who is handling the case, stated that Griffin was one of three individuals who broke into the Medina, NY home of 78 year old Homer Marciniak in the early morning hours of July 5, 2010. The intent of the burglary was to steal Marciniak’s valuable collection of comic books with an estimated value of $30,000. During the course of the burglary, Marciniak woke up and stumbled into the hallway where he encountered Griffin and the others. The defendant struck Marciniak in the face causing lacerations. After Griffin and the others left, Marciniak was transported by ambulance to Medina Memorial Hospital where his lacerations were sutured. However, following his release from the hospital’s emergency room, Marciniak went into cardiac arrest and died a short time later.
Medical evidence that the government was prepared to offer at trial demonstrated that the blow Griffin struck, as well as the emotional trauma caused by the burglary, directly contributed to Marciniak’s cardiac arrest and resulting death.
Rico Vendetti, the former owner of the East Side Gold and Audio Pawn Shop and Al’s Green Tavern on North Goodman Street in Rochester, engineered the burglary. He was convicted of Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.
Defendants Terry Stewart and Brandon Meade were also convicted in connection with this case.
The two other individuals involved in the burglary were Juan Javier, a juvenile at the time of the burglary who was convicted of robbery in Orleans County Court, and Albert Parsons who will be tried in federal court beginning on December 8, 2015 along with co-defendants Arlene Combs and Dayon Shaver.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The plea is the result of an investigation on the part of Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Craig Hanesworth, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Scott Hess, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn, the Medina Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jose Avila and Officers from the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 3, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.