Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News
print logo

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 bloody scrape trailed from her left eye to the corner of her mouth, where it met a wide bruise on her chin. More blood-red patches marred her nose, forehead and the skin between her eyes. Bobbie L. Mael of Lockport says in legal papers that her arms and legs were bruised, too, and she suffered a concussion when an Erie County Sheriff's deputy threw her face first on…

An inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility was crying as he ended a telephone conversation Wednesday morning. He went into the shower area of his housing unit and hanged himself, a well-placed prison source said. A guard found the inmate and cut him down, but efforts to revive him using CPR were not successful, the prison source said. "This was a clear-cut ca…

A robber struck a convenience store at 975 Abbott Road early Saturday, a clerk told Buffalo police. The robber carried what appeared to be a gun, but it was covered with a black plastic bag. He told the clerk he'd shoot her if she didn't hand over cash. He made off with about $50, according to a police report of the incident.

Someone didn't want a tow truck driver to repossess an auto early Saturday. Police are treating the incident as a case of criminal mischief and harassment. The tow truck operator told police that shortly after midnight he tried to hook a car in the 400 block of Stockbridge Avenue, not far from Buffalo's Bailey and Kensington Avenue intersection. Someone then ran from…

Richard A. Metcalf Sr. has waited four and a half years for the criminal justice system to address the homicide that took his son's life in November 2012. "Obviously, the whole process has been very tedious, very frustrating and very painful to my wife and myself," Metcalf said. "It doesn't get any easier." A breakthrough may be near. An outside district attorney …

After faulting Erie County jail officials for labeling inmate suicide attempts as "disturbances," a state agency says it accepts the method Sheriff Timothy B. Howard's team will employ to ensure serious incidents are reported to Albany and reported accurately. But the agency says it will check in regularly to verify his jail echelon follows through. The Commission of Co…

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s jail management team has assured a state watchdog agency that it will report serious jail incidents and report them accurately. The Erie County officials were responding to the state Commission of Correction’s assertion that they have failed to report serious matters, including inmate suicide attempts, as required. The Buffalo News rep…

The state's Commission of Correction this week formally faulted Erie County jail officials for failing to report serious incidents -- suicide attempts, inmate violence and the "erroneous release" of a defendant -- and said it expected improvement. The commission delivered the message in two "directives" to Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, laying the groundwork for a lawsuit i…

March 14, 1939 -- May 11, 2017 In retirement, Marshall W. Young took on a new cause by volunteering at the William-Emslie YMCA Senior Center at 585 William St. There were dances, picnics and trips to organize, and a children's program to fund. He also sang with the Senior Gospel Choir. "He enjoyed people," said Young's life partner, Gwendolyn Meadows of Williamsvi…

Nine months ago, at the start of the most recent college year, a technical sergeant with the Air National Guard learned he was again being deployed to the Middle East. This time, it created an extra complication. He would miss his college graduation. Adam Winters was juggling studies, a job and military service, and it was tough. It grew even worse when the mission of t…

The family of an inmate who died 20 days after entering the Erie County Holding Center last year has filed a widely anticipated lawsuit against Erie County, Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and the City of Lackawanna, where police arrested her in February 2016. Lawyers for Tawana R. Wyatt, mother of the late India Cummings, name 11 defendants in alleging that jail officials an…

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard did not violate the Erie County Code of Ethics when he wore his uniform to a pro-President Trump rally, the county's Ethics Board says. The panel can only enforce the county's ethics code, Chairman Steven Schwartz wrote in response to the handful of citizens who had urged the panel to act against Howard. The code, Schwartz told them, lets elect…

One afternoon in April 2013, an inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility tore a strip of linen from his bed sheet. He anchored one end to a fixture in his cell, knotted the other around his neck and leaned downward. Unable to breathe, he passed out. Then, as a report indicates, the linen came undone, and he tumbled to the floor. That’s how a corrections offi…

The check is in the mail. It’s not you, it’s me. The fruit cake was delicious, Aunt Hilda. People who yearn to no longer allow those  fibs, embellishments and little white lies to spring from their lips, may find inspiration on Sunday. It is  National Honesty Day, the annual counterpoint to the quasi-holiday that starts the month, April Fools Day. Hone…