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

The prosecutor asked to decide whether Erie County Holding Center deputies should be charged in an inmate's death said she has doubts about the state exam that found the victim was asphyxiated, and she stressed she would never call as a witness the nationally known forensic pathologist who was key to the finding, Dr. Michael Baden. "I wouldn't use him," Cattaraugus Coun…

Local News

Four Erie County citizens are asking a judge to force Sheriff Timothy B. Howard to follow state rules and classify inmate suicide attempts as just that, suicide attempts - not as "individual inmate disturbances." If a judge agrees to do so, it would lay the groundwork for Howard to be held in contempt should his jail officials intentionally mislabel serious incidents an…

Local News

Lyla Landry was a baby in a hurry. While every pregnancy can be a set-up for some kind of surprise, Lyla's mother and father were in a state of shock when their first child made her grand entrance 10 weeks before her due date. "It was very abrupt," Carla Landry of Buffalo said of the whirlwind delivery in September  2016, when she realized while at work that she was…

Local News

Here's how Robert C. Morgan responded when asked about real estate buys that are recorded as $1 transactions between limited liabilities companies: Morgan: "I know where you are going with that. I'll tell you what that is all about. We usually try to book it at, like that – you know we do the drop and swap on the LLC – just to avoid, just to avoid showing full price…

Local News

FBI agents have sent out subpoenas in an investigation of deals involving Buffalo's fastest-growing apartment owner, Robert C. Morgan. Morgan's companies, with corporate headquarters in suburban Rochester, have been buying up apartment complexes here for more than a decade and now own, co-own or manage 3,500 local units. Morgan is part of the team redeveloping the forme…

The public is invited to a discussion about the Erie County Holding Center to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 in the Merriweather Library at 1324 Jefferson Ave. The event will end with a memorial to those who have died while in the jail. Scheduled to speak are Chuck Culhane, advocate and coordinator of the Prisoners Action Committee, and Dr. Michael Durfee, associate…

Police departments in almost two dozen towns and cities across the state tried to dodge Freedom of Information requests seeking information about their use of force, complaints about alleged brutality, racial profiling and the use of surveillance technology, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which sent out the FOI requests. The Civil Liberties Union says …

Local News

A  judge recently sealed Sheriff Timothy B. Howard's deposition in the case of an inmate who died at the hands of his jail deputies. But his deputies' testimony about the death of Richard A. Metcalf Jr. remains in the public record. They say they knew little about how to apply the device that strangled Metcalf – a "spit mask." Yet they put one on him anyway. Sg…

Politics

Incumbent Byron W. Brown still holds a commanding lead over his two Democratic primary challengers as he seeks a fourth term as Buffalo mayor, according to a new survey by the Siena College Research Institute and Spectrum News. Forty-nine percent of the 512 likely Democratic voters contacted last week told Siena researchers they support Brown. While City Comptroller Mar…

Local News

In their fast-paced back-and-forth at the WNED-TV studios on Wednesday, Mayor Byron W. Brown and challengers Betty Jean Grant and Mark J.F. Schroeder lost track of some rhetorical details. http://buffalonews.com/2017/09/06/live-watch-buffalos-mayoral-debate/ Here's how The Buffalo News assessed the truth of some of their statements: Schroeder, the Buffalo city c…

Local News

July 19, 2006: Marlon Clay, 35, died of asphyxiation in the Erie County Correctional Facility after choking on two bags of contraband tobacco. He had been in custody since the previous September. Jan, 23, 2007: Michael G. Roberts, 49, threw himself over a Holding Center railing and fell about 15 feet. The West Seneca resident had been charged with felony sexual abuse …

Local News

For months, Erie County's lawyers protected Sheriff Timothy B. Howard from questioning in a lawsuit focused on the death of Richard Metcalf Jr., an inmate who a state agency says was suffocated by jail deputies in November 2012. The county's lawyers lost the battle in recent weeks when the judge presiding over the case let Metcalf family lawyers depose the sheriff, who …

Local News

Weeks ago, an inmate hanged himself in the Erie County Correctional Facility. A corrections officer cut him down, and frantic efforts began to revive him. A prison employee phoned for an ambulance, taking care not to use the words suicide, suicide attempt or hanging when speaking with a dispatcher. Someone needs help for an “air obstruction,” the employee said, a…

Local News

The Grand Island motorist who choked an Erie County sheriff's deputy in a harrowing attack one year ago pleaded guilty Friday to attempted murder. The motorist's female companion, who jumped into the fray, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Sammy Abdellatif, 23, faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison when County Judge Kenneth F. Case sentences him  Oct. 2…

Local News

The criminal case is over, and federal prosecutors say they have no problem with the public seeing video of a defendant's brutal mistreatment inside the City of Buffalo cell block. But for a second time, a judge has decided Mayor Byron W. Brown may conceal the government record that shows one of his employees inflicting bloody punishment and two of his police officers d…