Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News
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Matthew Spina

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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.

Four months after being notified that it had been misled about a serious attack inside the Erie County Correctional Facility, the state watchdog will arrive. Back in November, the state Commission of Correction vowed to investigate after learning from The Buffalo News that an inmate had attacked another inmate. Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s officials had wrongly told…

Who is Michael Caputo? The man whose name popped up Monday when the House Intelligence Committee quizzed FBI Director James Comey should be familiar to Western New Yorkers. In recent years, the conservative public relations professional who lives in East Aurora has been all over the place, making all sorts of statements. Now, members of Congress are attempting to link C…

At least 300 people figure Mayor Byron W. Brown is vulnerable. But even their candidate wants them to brace themselves. "Make no mistake, we are the underdogs," Mark J. F. Schroeder told his South Buffalo base and dozens of other well-wishers who traveled to South Buffalo's Historic Lodge to cheer the city comptroller Sunday as he kicked off his campaign for Buffalo may…

When a Buffalo cell-block attendant beat a defendant back in May, as two city police officers stood by,  surveillance cameras recorded the attack. Months later, the video has been seen by only a select few. A state judge recently ruled the video should remain hidden from public view, at least until the cell-block attendant's criminal trial concludes. "Until the crim…

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…