Matthew Spina - The Buffalo News

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Matthew Spina

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.


Local News

Lawyers pressing a lawsuit over the death of an Erie County Holding Center inmate had the chance in August to question Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, the elected official who oversees the jail where Richard A. Metcalf Jr. was strangled. Howard was not present when jail deputies knotted a spit mask around Metcalf's neck, pulled a pillowcase over his head and denied him medic…

Local News

The body of a 65-year-old resident of Randolph was found in the wreckage of a burning vehicle Tuesday, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies identified the victim as Charles Troutman. Deputies found the body after a motorist called 911 at around 9:10 a.m. to say a vehicle had gone into a ditch along Mill Creek Road and caught fire. After the Sinclairv…

A former cell block attendant for the City of Buffalo, who shoved a handcuffed defendant into a metal door and dragged him bleeding and nearly unconscious to an empty cell, was ordered Thursday to spend 18 months in a federal prison. "You are a prisoner now, just like that other fellow was," U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo told Matthew Jaskula, who sat bef…

Local News

A judge agreed Wednesday that a group of four advocates for prisoners' rights has legal standing to take Sheriff Timothy B. Howard to court if he or his aides again fail to report serious jail incidents to Albany. The four had hoped State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour would go further and order the Erie County sheriff to follow the state's rules on reporting ser…

Local News

Erie County government has been paying outside lawyers almost $15,000 a month, on average, to fend off a lawsuit alleging jail deputies strangled an inmate in 2012. The family of the late Richard A. Metcalf Jr. filed the suit in 2013, and it was defended at first by lawyers who are county employees. In December 2015, the government started paying the outside law firm Li…

An intruder kicked in a back door on an apartment on Avery Avenue in North Buffalo on Friday and stole jewelry, two TVs, designer shoes and children's coats, the victim told Buffalo police. The burglar also smashed dishes, glassware, the kitchen table and glass on the oven, according to a police report. White paint, bleach and other liquids were poured over furniture, b…

A would-be good Samaritan who came to a woman's aid after an assault ended up raping her, she told Buffalo police. The woman told police she had been assaulted near Broadway and Schutrum Street, which is four blocks west of Bailey Avenue, around 3:30 a.m. Friday. A motorist who saw her bleeding drove her to a home on Moselle Street so she could wash up. There, the ma…

A Williamsville resident faces several charges after being thrown out of an Allen Street bar and fighting with police around 1 a.m. Saturday, according to a Buffalo police report. Kearstin R. Enright, 21, of Maple Road, faces a felony charge of assault on a police officer or peace officer, misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administrati…

A driver who struck a pedestrian and drove away had a whiskey bottle in his vehicle and failed a field-sobriety test, Buffalo police said. Syaed A. Ali of Breckenridge Street is charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said his blood-alcohol level was measured at .23 percent, well over the legal limit. Police said in a report that they pulled his blue Honda Ody…

Niagara County faced sporadic failures of its 911 telephone line Saturday morning, but the system was later returned to "fully operational," the Sheriff's Office said. Still, the Sheriff's Office said residents who can't get through by dialing 911 use  this number instead: 716-438-3393, option 9.  

Local News

Erie County will pay $239,000 to settle a lawsuit triggered by the Sheriff’s Office’s failure to abide by a court agreement. The money will go to former Holding Center Lt. Jacqueline Kretzmon and her lawyer, who in 2011 alleged that Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s team breached an accord struck in 2008. In the initial complaint, Kretzmon reported that she had been dispar…

Local News

Richard A. Metcalf Jr. died five years ago Thursday after Holding Center deputies  knotted a spit mask around his neck and pulled a pillow case over his head. Though a state agency urged prosecutors to consider charging key jail deputies in the inmate's death, two potential counts are now off the table: manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. A five-year stat…

Local News

Paul Metcalf told the district attorney he was writing to her as the uncle of the deceased and an "optimistic patriot who believes in our system of law and justice." He went on to suggest in his email to District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman of Cattaraugus County that she was doing too little to prosecute those responsible for the death of his nephew, Richard A. Metcalf …

The largest law firm headquartered in Buffalo has gone to court in a dispute with six of its partners, but both sides are working to keep details out of public view. Goldberg Segalla, which has offices from Chicago to Miami, says in court papers that the six partners, all based in New York State, violated the firm's partnership agreement. The papers, filed just days ago…

Local News

About 1,500 people are a little warmer today. That's how many coats Paul Billoni figures he and a network of partners gave away Saturday in the first of this year's three coat giveaways. Parkas, ponchos and pea coats, trench coats, field coats and bombers — more than 1,800 of them were wheeled into the hallways of True Bethel Baptist Church at 907 E. Ferry St. before…