Melinda Miller, The Buffalo News
print logo

Melinda Miller

Author

The man who robbed and sexually abused a Japanese woman during her visit to Niagara Falls in 2015 was sentenced to 22 years in prison Friday by a Niagara County judge. Robert E. MacLeod, 45, of 30th Street in the Falls, was sentenced to 15 years for his conviction on two counts of second-degree robbery and seven years in prison for first-degree sexual assault. "That …

The mere fact of combining the science of mathematics with the visceral power of live theater gives "Proof" an advantage. It is not every day – it is hardly any day – that one comes across a serious play that relies on math jokes to lighten the mood. But 15 years in since it won its Pulitzer and Tony Award, "Proof" doesn't need to prove its credentials. What it need…

The man accused of being the getaway driver in the slaying at the Anchor Bar last year was convicted in federal court this week on unrelated drug and weapons charges. A jury found Gregory “Prospect” Ramos, 25, of Buffalo guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a …

The first sign of trouble came only about two weeks after the registered sex offender was admitted into Waterfront Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center last November. Thomas Moore, 62, put his hand on a resident’s thigh in the dining room on Dec. 9, according to a state report. When staff confronted Moore, he denied doing anything wrong with the woman, a dementia pati…

Assemblyman Sean Ryan on Wednesday asked for an investigation into how a sex offender who targeted incapacitated and bed-ridden women became a resident in a Buffalo nursing home upon his release from prison. Thomas Moore, 62, of Queens was moved into Waterfront Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in late November. In January, Moore was arrested and charged with felony …

Sixty days after she was sentenced to a year in jail for the hit-and-run death of Evans handyman Barry Moss, Gabriele Ballowe applied for early release from jail. The Erie County Department of Probation’s Conditional Release Commission quickly denied her application. Ballowe, 51, was sentenced in December after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a physical inj…

A Buffalo man forced girls as young as 14 to participate in a prostitution ring by using threats and intimidation, prosecutors said. Derek L. Harris, 22, of Buffalo faces charges of sex trafficking using fear of injury or death, promoting prostitution with a victim under age 15 and criminal sexual act using force. Prosecutor Ryan Haggerty said the victims, whose ages…

E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" could be the world's most perfect children's story. It has everything: life and death struggles, talking animals, a feisty little girl, gullible adults, and a terrific, radiant and humble pig named Wilbur. It also has literature's most unlikely heroine, the eloquent gray barn spider named Charlotte, who dedicates her short life to saving…

Thomas Moore spent more than 20 years in prison for sexually abusing hospitalized women who were elderly, disabled or incapacitated. But when time came to release him last year, state prison officials faced a problem. Indigent and with no family, the lifelong Queens resident had nowhere to go. Prison officials struggled to find a facility willing to accept the 62-year-o…

John M. Avent’s own words might have persuaded an Erie County Court jury on Friday to find him guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Roberta A. Rybinski. Avent, 50, didn’t take the witness stand during his weeklong trial, but jurors heard his voice as prosecutor Gary W. Hackbush played a recording of Avent's jailhouse phone call to a relative. An anguished Avent ca…

A young mother and her 7-year-old son were strangled last September by Shane Stevenson, who admitted to murder charges Wednesday, said Colleen Curtin Gable, the Homicide Bureau chief for the Erie County District Attorney's Office. No motive emerged during his State Supreme Court appearance on why he killed Raina M. Voll and Leo Klinger, or why he spared the life of Voll…

While the play isn’t what would technically be classified as Theater of the Absurd, it is the absurdity of its situation that makes “The Underpants” so entertaining. Of course, the absurdity may go without saying, considering the silly, not-quite-racy title and the playwright’s name underneath it: Steve Martin. The pedigree becomes even more revealing by noting …

The relationship between John M. Avent and Roberta A. Rybinski was turbulent and, at times, violent. The two were together for more than a year, even though at least some of Rybinski’s family members urged her to stay away from him. At one point, she had an order of protection to keep Avent away. Rybinski called police in March 2015 to report that he broke into her…

Veronica Hager wakes up every day wishing she were dead. Charles Rizzo wishes he could talk about his dead son without crying, “but I think it’s impossible, because I cry every day.” And Dennis Xenos, who killed his best friend when he crashed his car on Delaware Avenue last summer, said he felt "horrible" for what happened to his passengers but made no excuses…