A State Supreme Court jury is scheduled to begin deliberations today on manslaughter and weapons counts against Buffalo Police Officer Terrence Robinson, who is charged with the fatal shooting of Anthony Williams last fall.
Robinson, 35, a five-year police veteran, is charged with shooting Williams, 20, during a scuffle on Fillmore Avenue near Main Street about 3 a.m. Oct. 22 after a car driven by Williams struck a parked car and rammed it into another parked car.
After both sides rested their cases Tuesday, Justice Julian F. Kubiniec told jury members they will begin considering the case after listening to closing arguments Wednesday.
The shooting occurred about four hours after Robinson told police superiors he was too sick to work his normal shift.
Williams, shot once in the right temple, died three days later.
If convicted, Robinson, currently assigned to administrative duties at police headquarters, could face a prison term of up to 15 years and dismissal from the force.
Nick Martone, a retired Buffalo Police firearms and special weapons and tactics instructor, testified Tuesday on the damage found on Robinson's five-shot .38-caliber revolver. His testimony was interrupted frequently by lengthy battles over his explanation for the shooting.
Edward C. Cosgrove, chief defense attorney, complained about Kubiniec "counseling" prosecutors on how to challenge defense evidence by barring Martone from telling the jury he felt there was a "definite possibility" the damaged gun accidentally discharged when jostled by Williams.
Kubiniec ruled that Martone lacked "any degree of scientific certainty" to justify his claim.
Prosecutor Albert R. Ranni persuaded Kubiniec to bar Martone from making the statment. Martone, despite his "eminent reputation" as a firearms expert, didn't witness the incident, he argued.
Martone, Buffalo police firearms and special weapons instructor from 1966 through 1987, was allowed to tell the jury that he believed Robinson's revolver had become cocked -- and more easily fired -- during the fight Robinson and Williams had moments before the shooting.
Under questioning from Cosgrove, Martone testified that a portion of the hammer mechanism of the revolver broke off, possibly when the two men fell to the ground fighting. Martone also said Williams might have inadvertently kicked the holstered weapon and cocked it.