A grueling 30-hour investigation led to the arrest Sunday of two cousins in a triple homicide discovered Saturday in South Buffalo.
Capt. Charles T. Fieramusca Jr., Buffalo homicide chief, said William D. Secrest, 19, of 25 Lilac St. and James R. "Bouton" Szczerbacki, 18, of 42 Lakewood Drive, Orchard Park, will be arraigned today in Buffalo City Court on second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, burglary and weapons possession charges.
The victims, Richard T. Jordan, 59; William Duffy, 69; and Earl P. Sedore, 71, were all found stabbed to death at about 3 p.m. Saturday in the home they shared at 491 Marilla St.
Fieramusca said Secrest is the grand-nephew of Jordan, who owned the Marilla Street home and rented rooms to the other two men. Szczerbacki is a cousin of Secrest, but Fieramusca said he is not related to any of the victims.
"The first defendant knew that there was money in the house because of his relationship to the victim," he said of Secrest.
Investigators believe robbery was the motive but have yet to determine what was taken from the home.
Fieramusca said detectives worked "feverishly" to make the arrests. He also credited neighbors and the Erie County Sheriff's Department with providing important information.
Szczerbacki was arrested around 5 p.m. at the Tifft Street home of his girlfriend. Secrest had been arrested about 2 p.m. at his Lilac Street home.
Fieramusca said all three victims died of multiple stab wounds sometime after 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
"When he (Secrest) went to the home, he knocked on the door and was let in by Jordan," Fieramusca said. "This was not a random attack. This house was targeted."
At an unusual Sunday news conference in Police
Headquarters, Fieramusca declined to describe the interior of the house or talk about evidence police had gathered. He confirmed the suspects have criminal records but did not elaborate. Police said no drugs, except alcohol, apparently played a role in the attack.
"These guys were simply happy with going to the tavern and playing with their collie," Fieramusca said, referring to the household pet that survived the carnage and is now with Jordan's relatives.
The three aging bachelors were missed at their South Park Avenue haunts as early as Thursday.
That was when acquaintances were looking for Sedore at the Wayside Family Restaurant, where he ate twice a day in a corner booth.
That was when they started missing Duffy at O'Neill's Olde Town Tavern, where he told Irish stories and gave candy to the children of the hired help.
And that was when Jordan and his collie, Shane, were no longer seen walking down South Park Avenue or sitting on their stoop.
"They were three old guys who knew each other well enough to live together without killing each other -- somebody else did that," said a police officer guarding the little yellow house Sunday.
What little money Duffy and Sedore had from their pensions, and Jordan from his maintenance mechanic's job of 31 years at the Buffalo Port Authority, could not have aroused much envy in this part of town, residents said.
"It' a very odd thing to happen in this neighborhood," said Gary King, who was having a drink Sunday one of the men's hangouts, Talty's, 2056 South Park. "Because most people know everybody around here. Nobody can guess why it occurred. I don't believe there was a lot of money floating around in that house at all."
Unfortunately, Sedore was known for the peculiar habit of counting his money in public.
"Earl always had money on him," said Bill Karpus, who was walking down South Park on Sunday. "Not a lot. He'd carry maybe $100 in his pocket. He was retired from Republic Steel."
At the Wayside Family Restaurant, 2301 South Park, owner Dennis Spinelli remembered Sedore's unfailing daily appearances.
"He used to always count his money openly," he said. "We used to even tell him, 'Earl, put your money away!' "
Duffy was a member and former officer of Amvets Post 1420, which meets at Talty's. But he liked to hit all the bars on South Park, as well as O'Neill's around the corner on Abbott Road.
Carol Danieu, owner of O'Neill's, was having lunch at the Wayside on Sunday and remembering Duffy.
"He was a very nice and very quiet man," she said. "Went to OTB every day. Came and had a few draft beers. Minded his own business. Did the crossword puzzles. Just a very nice man."
She then started crying.
News Staff Reporter Karen Brady contributed to this report.