Matthew Spina

Author

I'm a staff writer at The Buffalo News and a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State who grew up in the great town of Schenectady, N.Y.

One of the nation's best-known forensic pathologists helped determine that Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. was suffocated by jail deputies and did not die of a heart attack as the Erie County medical examiner found in 2012. Dr. Michael M. Baden, who has surfaced in some of the nation’s best-known homicide cases, holds a seat on the State Commission of Cor…

The Cattaraugus County District Attorney's Office, headed by Lori Pettit Rieman, will serve as a special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Erie County Holding Center deputies in the death of an inmate in 2012. [RELATED: Holding Center video of inmate doesn't back up deputies' claims] The state Commission of Correction, which inv…

Jail deputies said the inmate was yelling and moving around even after they strapped him face down to a stretcher with a spit mask knotted around his neck and a pillowcase over his head. They said he continued to resist as nine deputies escorted the stretcher to an ambulance summoned to the Erie County Holding Center. Jail video obtained by The Buffalo News doesn’…

A state Supreme Court justice is likely to rule Wednesday on the appointment of a special prosecutor in the November 2012 death of Erie County Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. Judge Christopher J. Burns has been asked by Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. to select someone to investigate the death, because of a conflict of interest in Flynn'…

A drug-policy consultant will visit Buffalo on Tuesday to argue that New York should legalize recreational marijuana not simply because, in his view, the current system squanders police resources, targets certain minorities and fosters a dangerous, underground economy. Legalizing marijuana, says Nicolas Eyle, can help counter the deadly opiate epidemic sweeping the nati…

Someone lifted electronic equipment from a church in University Heights. The burglar made off with a microphone system and a transmitter for the hearing impaired from St. Joseph University Parish at 3269 Main St., a church employee told police in a report filed over the weekend. The equipment, valued at around $1,000, may have been taken days earlier. A camera system…

A witness to a hit-and-run accident helped police arrest a Buffalo man Saturday for driving while intoxicated. The witness, according to a police report, watched a 2004 Honda strike a parked car with such force that it sent the parked car into two more autos parked on Buffalo's West Side. The witness followed the Honda a short distance and identified it for police at…

A Getzville woman went out to her garage around 10 a.m. Sunday to warm up her car, then went back inside her house. Minutes later she was calling 911 because her car was on fire. The burning car soon ignited a second car parked inside the detached garage at 72 Marine Drive, Amherst fire officials said. Flames then consumed the garage itself. The Getzville Fire Compa…

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. says he has made good on a campaign pledge to ensure that the death of Holding Center inmate Richard A. Metcalf Jr. in 2012 is criminally investigated. Flynn, however, wants the Niagara County District Attorney's Office to conduct the investigation. Flynn has filed court papers requesting the change. State Supreme Court Ju…

A pathologist was unable to determine the cause of death for India Cummings, the 27-year-old woman who died 20 days after entering the Erie County Holding Center last year, a lawyer for her family revealed during a vigil for her Monday. The vigil was staged outside the home of the official who oversees the jail, Sheriff Timothy B. Howard. Both the cause and manner of Cu…

John M. Mylett is a former Coast Guardsman and police officer with a serious manner. He's also a noncustodial father who is not to be trifled with on matters concerning his daughter's care. Over a three-year period, he called the Child Abuse Hotline more than a dozen times to complain about the girl's mother or her home situation. While Mylett denies it, records indicat…

Who is that man of mystery, the tall and solid stranger who cherishes bite-size orange wafers baked from wheat flour with a slathering of real cheese? The Niagara Falls Police Department wants to know. So does the management at the Tops market at 7200 Niagara Falls Blvd. The mystery man has struck the store at least three times to shoplift more than $600 worth of sna…

Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager who will serve as a West Wing adviser to Donald J. Trump, will appear at a $5,000-a-person fundraiser in Buffalo next week. The Thursday luncheon is expected to draw business executives and Republican luminaires eager to connect with the Trump team and help finance the 45th president’s transition to the White House. The fundra…

The weather didn't cooperate, but the number looks good. Maybe, just maybe, the Village of East Aurora will deck its halls with a Guinness World Record. It's a niche category that the village sought with its annual caroling event Saturday. Call it: Most people caroling in a single venue that happens to be a public outdoor arena. Needed were a little more than 1,80…

The Buffalo News has filed a lawsuit to let the public see security-camera video of the violent beating of a handcuffed defendant in the Buffalo Police Department lock-up. The video, according to the FBI, shows a docile victim — who had just asked for a lawyer — being shoved through a door, tossed to the floor and dragged to an open cell with a trail of blood in his…