As a favor to a man now charged with murder, a Buffalo prostitute reportedly disposed of the brick used to kill a Derby trucker three months ago.
But she had a change of heart and led police to the "weapon," law enforcement sources said Monday.
The 31-year-old woman, now the key witness against Michael S. McKenney, 22, took the brick from McKenney after he allegedly hit Florian Chudoba, 43, on the head at least four times Sept. 19 in McKenney's Jersey Street flat, sources said.
The woman, also an exotic dancer and a friend of both men, left the brick in a yard on Prospect Avenue, several blocks from McKenney's flat, as McKenney allegedly put the dying victim into his own van, sources said.
Within days of the killing, the prostitute, who lured Chudoba to McKenney's flat, told police that she knew where they could find the brick, sources said.
The woman, who has immunity from prosecution in the murder case, "blames herself" for Chudoba's death, but she has hired a lawyer, pending McKenney's trial, sources said.
McKenney, who served a brief prison term in New Jersey for assaulting a store owner with a brick during a robbery in Atlantic City in 1987, is being held without bail. A trial date has not been set.
Chudoba was found dying about 12:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in his van in LaSalle Park, about 90 minutes after he was beaten, allegedly by McKenney.
Erie County District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon and Denise C. Hochul, a prosecutor in the case, both declined to comment Monday on the prostitute's role.
During a brief proceeding Monday before State Supreme Court Justice Frederick M. Marshall, Michael J. Stachowski, McKenney's lawyer, complained that the prostitute "is the cause of this whole mess."
Over Stachowski's objections, Marshall gave prosecutors permission to take blood and body-hair samples from McKenney to compare with specimens found in his flat and in the victim's van the night of the slaying.
Stachowski complained that the prosecution demand for body hair was "an unreasonable intrusion" on McKenney's rights.
"This isn't a sex crime," the defense attorney said.
Ms. Hochul told the judge prosecutors have "ample evidence taken from the crime scene," which can be compared with McKenney's hair and blood.